The Odd Couple

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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  1. Avatar Philip H
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    says:

    Fact – if you don’t really understand why the other guys think they way they do, and when they try to tell you, you blatantly refuse to shoulder even the teensiest smidge of the blame and instead turn it around on them as yet another opportunity to tell them all the many reasons why they are wrong, stupid, and evil, the opportunity for finding consensus will forever be lost.

    This is your most critical statement. And its so buried under a lot of other really worthy prose. That’s what I’ll “savage” you for.

    Beyond that you are right. though I don’t detect you answering the question that flows from your statement I just quoted – what do you do when you are on the receiving end of that dismissal all the damn time? Where do you draw the line? When do you say that the other has lost all rights to engagement because they won’t recognize either their own faults or your humanity? How many times does one have to endure being called a “libtard” before one gets to throw the towel out the window?

    Aside from frequently being called those names and more, I am more often encountering one side’s unwillingness to even cop to my basic humanity. two examples – in a thread on a conservative friend’s facebook page last week about Dr. Blasey-Ford’s testimony, I asked what the friend and his fellow “I don’t believe her” commentors needed to see or hear to believe here. The very first response i got was “If I have to tell you that then maybe you are too stupid to comment.”

    Second example – in a discussion last year on police brutality to black males, I was told I “Hate the White race” because I believe the reporting (and my own raised in Louisiana, living in Mississippi eyes) and the statistics that say black men have more, and more negative interactions with cops then white men.

    I get the need for humble engagement. Its why I ask questions. But sometimes, enough is enough.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      That was the last thing I added, at the very last minute (for me anyway as it typically takes me months to write a piece) and was driven by some things I read in the comments here. You’re right, I should have left it out and it would have been a better piece if I had.

      You’re also right in that there is a minority of truly awful people who identify as conservatives and it’s unfortunate that a lot of those people seem to spend a good deal of time online. I will grant you that the awfulest group of people does exist under the conservative umbrella and I’d love nothing better than to wave a magic wand and get rid of them. At the same time, though, I do think that there is plenty of awful existing among the ranks of liberal folk these days and the thing that scares me is that I’m seeing that awfulness coming from people who are really quite mainstream, people who I like and love and who have always been eminently reasonable.

      Like I said in the piece, we can’t control for the wackadoos and extremists on either side, they’re always going to be there. It doesn’t justify bad behavior coming from those of us who are moderate “normie” types.

      Thanks for reading and the entirely accurate input – apologies for the admitted fail, there.

      Much appreciated.Report

  2. Avatar FR
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    says:

    I always love how in all these descriptions, race is never mentioned.

    The great realignment of our politics in the last 3 decades is that the political parties have built up to two pretty clear constellations of supporters: the GOP representative the dominant social ID’s of the last 4 centuries of experience on this continent (straight, white) vs the Dems building on everybody else who kept on clawing for some sort of political power throughout that time and was usually savagely beaten for it. Now, there are some strange groups throughout there (the college-educated whites who lean with the Dem party).

    Everytime somebody brings up the ‘we need to get along’ – I’m not quite sure we can. The formerly and current oppressed classes want restitution for our suffering – and the GOP wants us all to go away. Where’s the compromise in that? One side would have to accept that the country is going to look different than the one they grew up with – darker, more foreign, and probably sexually ambiguous. The side demanding the changes has been trying for 400 years.Report

  3. Avatar Philip H
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    says:

    Everytime somebody brings up the ‘we need to get along’ – I’m not quite sure we can. The formerly and current oppressed classes want restitution for our suffering – and the GOP wants us all to go away. Where’s the compromise in that? One side would have to accept that the country is going to look different than the one they grew up with – darker, more foreign, and probably sexually ambiguous.

    The GOP doesn’t want you to go away – it needs you for the success of its economic models. It just doesn’t want to grant you the opportunity to succeed or to even be paid a living wage.Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk
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    says:

    I think of Linus Van Pelt and his comment that he loved humanity but couldn’t stand people. I am exactly the opposite: I love individual people. Even people with whom I disagree on many things, I can find some common ground where I can love them. When I know someone, when I know a little about their hopes and dreams and background and fears, most of the time I can find something to like. There are very few people I would say I actively disliked; mainly for me it takes the form of avoiding someone that I find exhausting or combative.

    But humanity, man. Forget humanity. And all its stupid tribalisms. We’re all fellow passengers on the way to the grave, man.

    I also dislike tribalism because in several areas of my life I’m someone with one foot in each of different camps (e.g., I am a biologist who accepts and teaches evolution, but I am also a Christian who is active in her congregation and attends church weekly) and deep down, I worry that if things come to some kind of weird tribal war, no tribe will “claim” me and I’ll be one of the early casualties. (Then again, if the future is unending civil war, maybe I’d prefer to be one of the early casualties and hopefully end up in the “good place.”)

    I guess what I’m saying is I’m not sure we can come to common ground as *groups,* because tribalism, but maybe as individual people we can? And maybe the problem with the internet is that it allows people to be much more tribal without consequences, and not to see the human parts of their opponent? (The “say that to my face” phenomenon)

    I dunno. Being a human is hard these days and sometimes I feel like a lot of the love, tolerance, and listening-to-other-people my parents taught me is just another rule that’s been suspended, and I don’t know how to act or whether I’ll fit in anywhere…

    Of course, the other issue is that a lot of the larger systems we act in are broken, and the way they got broken is not necessarily the fault of the people acting in them (e.g., the customer-service people didn’t mess up your order) but it’s easy to blame the people who are the “faces” of those systems…Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      I have said this very thing. Naturally, I endorse this.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      I totally agree with every word you say filly and thanks so much for putting it so eloquently.

      I’m also of two worlds, not of either tribe really, and I feel like I’m watching a slow motion train wreck from afar. I keep thinking “well surely I have the right words to say to stop all this” but like any train wreck, objects that are in motion tend to stay in motion.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      I hear ya. I think most people, if they really thought about it, don’t just have one tribe, and the tribes they do belong to don’t all get along. But I think people like to pretend they do, or that they have but one tribe, and they compartmentalize and prioritize their beliefs for whatever reason(s).Report

  5. Avatar Em Carpenter
    Ignored
    says:

    I love the concept and the ideas in this piece. Thank you Kristin for writing it.

    I know by saying this I fall into the trap of exemplifying your criticism of one side believing itself to be “on the side of the angels”, but really, if one has the perspective that conservative policies tend to bolster only a small portion of society while harming the marginalized, either intentionally or as a side effect, it is really hard to give the benefit of good faith to the other side.

    However, I’ve learned, because of my deep friendships with a few conservatives, that they are not coming from a place of uncaring; they just don’t have the same baseline. We want the same things- we just disagree on how to get there.

    I do want to say that I notice that every time someone writes one of these “can’t we all just get along” pieces, the writer stops in the middle to take the opportunity to rail against the other side, which is kind of like falling into one’s own trap. “We need to compromise (and by we I mean the other side because we’ve compromised enough)”. And then my knee jerk reaction is “there should be no compromise on xyz because basic human dignity…” and round and round we go.

    I’ll just stay in my room with a mini fridge I guess. You can have the rest of the house.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Em Carpenter
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      says:

      Here’s the thing though. I don’t feel I fell into a trap by saying that. I know it can be seen as an inconsistency of message and I knew it as I was writing and editing it.

      But think it needs to be said in the way that I said it for the very reason you point out – because I don’t feel that many people on the left have any understanding of why many conservatives think the way they do. I really, truly believe that small government conservative/libertarian policies are better for poor and marginalized people (I am, in fact, an actual Poor Person). I really truly believe that conservative cultural norms are better for poor and marginalized people (than what we have going on right now, that is – I’m not a prude or a Puritan). And I really truly believe that most conservatives are much more live and let live than they’re made out to be. So when these charges are levied against me all I can do is shrug because you’re not describing me and you’re not describing any conservatives that I even know.

      This notion of conservatives being racist and greedy and wanting to enact the Handmaid’s Tale or whatever – it’s not real. People are no more racist, greedy, sexist, or sexually Puritanical than they ever were and you can make a very good case that in fact the vast majority of humanity is by far less racist, sexist, and sexually Puritanical than ever. (Greed seems the same as it ever was but greed is in no way exclusive to conservatives.) It’s politics. It’s tribalism. It really is a form of blind prejudice based on assumptions and stereotypes – I’m not saying you, I’m saying in my experience with many people I know in other arenas – and it is at the very core of our troubles here because again, when one side believes the other side is like, really, actually bad and operates under that assumption it simply cannot end up anywhere good. Because every tactic in the book is ok if you’re dealing with someone who is really actually bad.

      So it puts me in a funny position here of having to argue that we both need to get along (true) and that I find one side to be currently more in the wrong than the other (which I also find true). If I would have concealed my position I would have been called out on it anyway – in fact that was a criticism of my original piece, if I recall – and so I felt it appropriate to include my own opinion about it.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your input. Much appreciated.Report

      • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Kristin Devine
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        says:

        This notion of conservatives being racist and greedy and wanting to enact the Handmaid’s Tale or whatever – it’s not real.

        And this is what “your side” does that stunts any ability to peacefully coexist: dismissal out of hand of the realities people actually face. No, not “handmaid’s tale”, but racism, sexism, economic injustice- it exists. “No worse than it used to be” is a poor metric for deciding we should all just settle for what is. But it’s only the conservatives insisting this is not reality, or “not so bad”.

        I don’t have to believe the other side is evil in order to believe they are wrong and argue against it. Intentions don’t mean a thing; only what results matters.Report

        • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Em Carpenter
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          says:

          And it occurs to me, I bristled so much at the insinuation that the issues I and my ilk are so invested in fixing don’t exist that I went right back to fight mode.

          Listen, I want to assume that people act from a place of good faith and not malice. That’s hard to do, when the other side is blatantly telling me they don’t think our concerns are real. And I do realize it is the stereotype that you are saying doesn’t exist, but it is really hard to separate the stereotype from the actual policies when they fall right in line.

          I could tell you that the conservative small government policies, as expressed currently, would have resulted in my probably still living in poverty, in a house with the roof falling in, no higher education, and a lot of hungry bed times as a child. I advocate for social welfare programs because I know how much I benefited from them. It’s really hard for me to fall in line with policies that would take them away..Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Em Carpenter
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            says:

            Would it help if we stopped short-handing things? We all (not just here, but everywhere other than formal debate settings) use a few words to refer to some extended argument and assume that the other guy understands the argument and its limitations. If someone says “racism doesn’t exist”, he probably means that racism is a historical reality that still exists, but is no longer part of our legal system and has marginal impact on our institutions. But it’s cumbersome to take the time online to spell out each point of an overall position. I don’t know where the middle ground is – it could be the case that any political discussion under 5 pages does more harm than good.Report

            • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              You have fair points here re short-handing (though whether institutionalized racism is still prevalent in our legal system and otherwise is a debate for another day- it is not codified, I grant).
              But that’s why it is so unhelpful to be outright dismissive like that.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Em Carpenter
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                says:

                My dream is that some well-meaning people put together a “full explanation” site. You could search for some political story or slogan and find the whole thing spelled out. Legitimate steel manning.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                How would you propose we stop short-handing? Does it help for people to call out their own team? Or call out the other team? Would it help if we had some position papers that we could point to if someone were unsure what we meant? Could we agree on fair formulations? I often mention the old rule in medieval theological debate: that each side should be able to state the other side’s position to the other side’s satisfaction before any debate can begin.

                It seems to me that a first step would be eliminating Twitter. Then again, that’d be my first step toward solving a lot of problems.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                You can pry my Twitter from my cold dead hands…Report

              • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I see Twitter as a tool. You can use it for good or for bad.

                I know I’ve said before that one horrible January night a couple years ago when my dad wound up in the ER and I didn’t know what was going on and for a while I was even scared BOTH of my parents might be dead, and I went on there and said “This is happening and I’m scared” some of my mutuals offered support and even to pray for my dad (even though they didn’t know him).

                (Spoiler alert: it was a medication mistake, they are both fine now)

                Granted, I have a locked account so randos can’t @ me (though I did that partly so I wouldnt’ risk getting students following me) and I have a v. small number of those who follow me and that I follow but….

                as someone with v. specific issues that keep me from picking up the phone or texting people, it’s nice to be able to throw a joke or a comment out on twitter and feel heard.

                I wish bigger Twitter were less of a tire fire, but my own little circle is generally pretty supportive – and I mutually follow people both more conservative than I am (even one or two Trump supporters, though they have voiced dismay at some of his more outrageous things) and also people more liberal than I am.

                Part of the trick I find is not engaging too much when you feel like it’s a position that will only lead to a fight and to no one changing their opinion…Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Em Carpenter
            Ignored
            says:

            Are you dismissive of conservative concerns? Not the strawman concerns, but the actual things they worry about?

            I mean, I know a lot of conservatives who do advocate for and depend on those social welfare programs. I also know a lot of conservatives who see the funding for the programs they depend on drying up and being re-allocated to urban areas, and who are then told, “Just move to the city”.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              There’s a fascinating topic for discussion in there. In Colorado, in every case over the last 20 years where allocation formulas were re-jiggered, a larger share of the moneys were allocated to rural areas. Education, roads, health care, telecommunications. RUS provides money for rural utility infrastructure that can’t be given to the non-rural. Can they/you provide some concrete examples of rural funding being diverted to urban areas?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                I honestly don’t know that they are being diverted, but it is the refrain I hear.

                It could be that the monies spent are being spent in non-obvious ways, or in ways that are not directly helpful to the person family. So the perception is that the money is diverted, or that it is being spent on big projects that are nice, but don’t put food on the table (and it’s awful easy to go from big project spending to ‘political payoff spending’). Thus perception drives the conversation.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I honestly don’t know that they are being diverted, but it is the refrain I hear.

                The “refrain I hear[d]” growing up in Central New York decades ago was that “our” tax money was being sucked into NYC for Those People. It was never true. NYC has almost always been a net exporter of tax revenue to the rest of the state. Once in a blue moon, the Rochester area would generate more tax revenue than it consumed, but that was small and rare.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s what makes me wonder if the problem is that the flow of money isn’t visible to the people on the ground.

                It’s like when you talk to a 1%’er, and they tell you that money isn’t being hoarded in bank vaults, it’s in circulation, getting loaned out to people and small businesses, and all that, and you don’t care because you are working 2 minimum wage jobs just to pay the rent and keep the lights on.

                It doesn’t matter if the city is sending money to the rural areas, if it’s being spent on big projects that don’t employ the locals, or otherwise grant them assistance. Those nice new roads are great, but the contractor wasn’t local. That power plant is nice, but very little local labor was used to build it, and none of the locals have the skills to work there. Or Ag subsidies that all wind up going to big corps or hobby farmers from the urban area, because they are the ones who have the time and energy to fill out the paperwork and game the system.

                Etc.

                It’s nice that the money is being sent to the area, but if it isn’t helping you, or your neighbors, in ways that you can feel the impact of, does it matter?Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Like it or not, pork barrel spending gave politicians inventive to make sure people knew where the spending was coming from. Part of the issue with neoliberal programs compared to out and out vulgar Keynesian is that a lot of people aren’t even aware the government is helping them.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse
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                says:

                Not sure if you are agreeing with me or not?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I suppose that depends on what proposition you’re advancing. If it is that people in the sticks are in fact being fleeced by the urbanites, that “refrain” is just false. If the proposition is that there are explanations beyond the obvious for why they believe it, maybe there isn’t a disagreement.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    One minor point about The Odd Couple, both Felix and Oscar were putting so much effort into their new relationship because they were both recently divorced.

    So when they had conflict, they immediately started engaging in actions that would have helped with their former marriages. Too late, perhaps… but it was enough to perform necessary corrective maintenance actions to their new relationship with their new roommate.

    They were able to do this because of their divorces.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Growing up, my parents had a little slip of paper stuck to the fridge. On it was written:

    The Secret To Domestic Tranquility: During any domestic dispute, once you realize you are right, apologize.

    Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Its always pleasant to imagine a state of compromise in the abstract, free of any actual content.

    What would be a compromise over police shootings of unarmed black men? Like, we prosecute 50% of the cops, and let the other half go free? Or maybe we demand they shoot only to wound, but not to kill?

    What would be a compromise be, to a culture that allows men to harass women with impunity? We demand that groping a breast is acceptable, but a vagina is off limits?

    The reason people savage these calls for compromise, is that they are, frankly, insulting.
    They reduce these issues of dignity and freedom to petty spats over who left dishes in the sink.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Way back in 2016, I found myself wondering what compromises would be possible and the two examples I came up with got a *LOT* of heavy pushback.

      In my little version of the Ultimatum Game, the deal was something like this:

      You offer a compromise.
      If the other person doesn’t take it, you get Trump.

      I made some dumb little offers like “allow Nativity Scenes in front of the City Hall” and “get rid of the BAKE THE CAKE! thing” and I got a lot of pushback. Not surprising, really. They weren’t my things to offer and they weren’t things other that other people could accept (even in theory). That said, the very idea that there were areas, even in theory, that could be compromised on was interesting to me.

      I wasn’t coming at it from “WHAT COMPROMISES COULD BE HAD WITH THESE MONSTERS” but from “okay, let’s assume that there are things that Team Good would be willing to give up that Team Evil wants”.

      And I couldn’t come up with anything that Team Good would have been willing to give up.

      This strikes me as a problem if Team Good is not negotiating from a position of strength.

      But we’ve an election in five weeks. If there’s a Blue Wave, Team Good can negotiate from a position of strength and really tighten down on those Team Evil basterds.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        It seems to me, when it comes to political compromise, the end result is something that pays lip service to both sides, but ultimately makes everyone worse off in the end.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Reformed Republican
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          says:

          If the end result is papering over differences and kicking the can down the road a ways, “makes everyone worse off in the end” isn’t entirely true.

          If we could make everyone worse off and increase solidarity thereby? That’s making everyone better off, in an odd way.

          If I could institute a post-Maslow society and make everybody at each others’ throats and doing nothing but jockey for position and willing to harm anyone who wasn’t their immediate tribe? That’s making everybody worse off… even if everybody’s meetable material needs are met.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            You offer a compromise.
            If the other person doesn’t take it, you get Trump.

            Out of curiosity, what offered compromise was it liberals refused to accept that got us Trump?Report

            • Avatar Jesse in reply to Tod Kelly
              Ignored
              says:

              If I remember the argument from last name, basically conservative white people get to veto any cultural changes until they’re comfortable with them and always retain the right to vote for a crazy xenophobic criminal sexual abuser if liberals are too mean to them.

              Basically, white cultural conservatism stays the default forever.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Jesse
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                says:

                If I remember the argument from last name, basically conservative white people get to veto any cultural changes until they’re comfortable with them and always retain the right to vote for a crazy xenophobic criminal sexual abuser if liberals are too mean to them.

                You assume that they’ll play ball if you’re not mean to them. LOL.

                They just don’t like your kind. Simple as that.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              The compromise as Jesse seems to say is that change only happens at a level that makes the most conservative members of society feel safe and secure. This is a glacial pace.

              During the Mastercakes II debate, I saw a lot of people try to say that LBGT people already “won” gay marriage and they can just leave the baker alone but this is still a kind of second-class citizenship that ignores that being equal means being fully allowed to participate in civil and economic life.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                What has surprised me is to recognize how the arc of the universe does NOT inexorably bend towards justice.

                Like these ISIS recruits who grew up in liberal western societies, people like Ben Shapiro and Milo aren’t resisting change.
                Even those red faced shouty MAGA hat men aren’t really that old. They grew up in the Woodstock and disco generation.

                They yearn for a world that is alien to them, but one in which they are sure they would be kings, as they deserve.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                This is one thing that’s sort of hard to remember at times. When somebody says a ’70 year old,’ I think a lot people still think of a guy who possibly fought in WWII instead of a guy who possibly fought in Vietnam.

                I mean, to a 15 year old growing up today, ‘Nevermind’ is as old an album as The White Album was to somebody in 1993.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
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              says:

              Out of curiosity, what offered compromise was it liberals refused to accept that got us Trump?

              If I had to limit it to one thing, I’d say The Little Sisters of the Poor not having to cover BC.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                ughhhh….the LS of P didn’t have to cover anyone’s birth control. As i remember all they had to do was fill out a form asking for an exemption which they would been granted and the gov would have paid for the BC. They didn’t want to fill out the form.

                Am i remembering any of that wrong?Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
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                says:

                No.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Was that before or after they took it to court?Report

              • Avatar Van_Owen in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                It was after some push back and lobbying against the original form of the rule (which restricted that option to churches) but prior to the lawsuit. They went to court because they didn’t want to fill out the form.

                You can read the SCOTUS fact summary in the decision, which was super short as it was a per curiam punt.

                https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-1418_8758.pdfReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Van_Owen
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                says:

                So… I’m trying to wrap my head around this… that’s something that you don’t even see as something worth having compromised on because it was so very small in the first place and besides they didn’t have to do anything?

                Because that strikes me as the perfect thing to have compromised on.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Not making religious organizations have to pay for BC directly if they filled out a form was the compromise. What the Little Sisters and other wanted wanted was to not even have out to fill out the form so they didn’t have to pay for BC, because they didn’t want their employees health care plans to cover BC period, even if their employees wanted said health care plan.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
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                says:

                And so that’s the hill we’re willing to die on because we’re not even willing to compromise on that?

                Because you’d think that something so very small would be the easiest thing in the world to compromise on.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                No, I’m not willing to compromise women’s access to birth control so a bunch of conservatives who believe they should control their employees sexuality.

                I’m not saying, “make them pay for the birth control.” I’m saying, “make them sign the form so the government can pay for the birth control.”Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Jesse
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                says:

                Jesse,

                No, I’m not willing to compromise women’s access to birth control so a bunch of conservatives who believe they should control their employees sexuality.

                This is a dumb hill to fight on and your characterization is false and misleading if not worse. If the only thing you can do is inject hyperbole to obscure the actual fact pattern and not argue off the fact pattern itself, it’s weak sauce. I’m extremely unimpressed. Quit the partisan chest thumping before you knock the wind out of yourself.

                I’m not saying, “make them pay for the birth control.” I’m saying, “make them sign the form so the government can pay for the birth control.”

                No, and it’s obvious you have no clue how faith-based health systems work or even care to think about it.

                It’s not about the payment for birth control, it’s about the fact that even if they aren’t paying for it, the health system is providing it. Since the faith-based health systems operate STRICTLY within the religious directives of the organization, they operate according to those principles, which means the delivery of healthcare AND religion are intertwined and you can’t separate them nor should you.

                There are a lot of healthcare services that faith-based health systems don’t provide, and, more likely than not owners of medical real estate on hospital campuses have use restrictions on who they can and can’t lease to based on those religious directives.

                It’s no different for people that choose to work for faith-based organizations in the capacity of carrying out those missions. It should be painfully obvious to anyone that understands the First Amendment that forcing a faith-based health system to act in a manner that interferes with the practice of religion flies in the face of the Free Exercise clause.

                To think, these are organizations that collectively provide several billion a year in charity care across the country. Yet, those god damn conservatives blah blah blah blah.

                You may want to learn a bit more about how to compromise and pick your battles wisely. I’m pretty good at both FWIW. This is a hill I”m happy to fight on.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that there is a large segment of the conservative wing that is hostile to making contraception easily accessible, even of they themselves use it.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip Daniels: I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that there is a large segment of the conservative wing that is hostile to making contraception easily accessible, even of they themselves use it.

                It’s not, but that’s not the issue here.

                We’re talking about faith-based organizations. Now, if you’re one of those partisans that believe that you need to eradicate the “conservative” worldview by all means necessary including shitting on the Constitution and throwing faith-based health systems under the bus, then to me, you’re no better than the self righteous culture warriors I’ve banged heads with over most of my adult life. Worse, you dare do it under the banner of liberalism.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                What about non-faith based organizations? What about Hobby Lobby and that nebulous “closely held sincere religious beliefs” exception?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                Em,

                What about non-faith based organizations?

                I wouldn’t apply my standard above to non-faith based organizations. I’m digging in my heels on the ground of religious faith as an organization not, for example, a non-faith-based organization with a deeply religious CEO using his moral beliefs to try to get out of providing birth control. I’m adamantly against that.

                I sided with Hobby Lobby when the case was decided because it is (or was at the time) a faith-based company. Frankly, it’s the only one I can think of so I wasn’t concerned about a precedent being set for other for-profit companies to follow suit.

                As far as the sincerely held religious belief standard goes, it doesn’t trouble me in the context of RFRA but what would trouble me is the elevation of sincerely held religious beliefs as a deciding standard in Free Exercise cases, where the exercise as PRACTICE applies.

                In fact, while I have a threshold where I think the Free Exercise clause would apply in, for example, a case between religious liberty and same sex marriage, it’s significantly higher than what I’m seeing with some of the other cases challenging anti-discrimination law, which is clinging to sincerely held religious beliefs.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                Reasonable. Thanks.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t criticize political partisans that refuse compromise and then take unreasonable positions that show an unwillingness to compromise.

                Where people think I am on issues and where I’m willing to go are two different things. I’m also not averse to being the one proposing compromise. That’s not how I operate in meatspace so why do it here?Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the problem is that too many people are absolutely certain their position is not unreasonable.

                Meatspace- ha.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                Em,

                That seems fair. It could also be the same zero-sum mentality that infects the small brain of our Idiot in Chief.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                If the insurance plan documentation states “no coverage for contraception” (and insurers are required to provide that type of coverage information to their insureds), and the government agrees to pay for it under those circumstances, then the insured should be able to present that documentation to the government to get it paid for, independent from and outside of the insurance system. That doesn’t require any action on the part of the employer. How about that?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                Em,

                Send over an execution copy and I’ll sign it immediately.

                So long as there is enough separation between the organization and access to birth control, I’m not going to have any problem with it and would oppose efforts by religious organizations to get those overturned.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, looky there! A solution.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes indeed. Do you have any idea how easy it was for me to agree with you? It’s almost as if I was looking for a solution but was too dumb to think of it myself. 😉Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But where is the lack of compromise? The Sis’s didn’t have to pay for BC and their employees could get it another way. That seems like both sides get what is most important to them. That is a successful compromise.Report

              • Avatar The Question in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Why is Women’s Medical Care the only kind of care that were allowed to bargain away? I mean if all they got to do is sign a piece of paper and they no longer have the difficult conscience decision of allowing a woman to seek Healthcare that she wants what’s the problem?

                Does Jesus forbid them from signing pieces of paper? Is this not a thing y’all should render unto Ceaser?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to The Question
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s how we see the Little Sisters of the Poor case? Bargaining away Womens’ Medical Care?Report

              • Avatar Van_Owen in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jesse’s response below echos my own thoughts. Allowing them to fill out a form and have the government/insurer pay for the BC coverage portion of the insurance seems like a reasonable compromise between requiring that all health insurance plans include BC and a religious employer objecting to offering insurance with BC but otherwise wanting to offer insurance. No money from them, no further administrative work, just applying for and receiving an exemption.

                I think that this does illustrate an issue with a focus on “compromise.” What are the starting points? I think I fairly described them above, but if the Little Sisters treat the objection to filling out the form as their starting point, then I guess in their eyes we haven’t compromised at all.

                From my perspective, as someone who is skeptical of any employers getting to reshape the definition of certain categories of benefits for any reason, it does seem like that was worth compromising on in service of our national norm for respecting religious convictions. So I think we agree, but I don’t think the Little Sisters do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Van_Owen
                Ignored
                says:

                You’d think that something so very small would have done a lot less damage.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Sincere question Jaybird:

                What is something you think conservatives are foolishly adamant about and can compromise on. Preferably something that liberals want that is not on the libertarian side of things like a welfare state or social issue.

                SO no “let’s legalize pot” here outs.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Hm. No answer yet. Also what makes you the arbiter over what counts as a little thing or not?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, sorry. Didn’t see this.

                What do I think conservatives are foolishly adamant about and can compromise on? Well, the gay marriage thing was something I argued for but the Supreme Court made that sort of moot. Is “Intelligent Design” still a thing? They should drop that one like a hot rock. We should probably also abandon this whole “Neoconservativism” thing.

                The whole “transgender bathrooms” thing is probably the biggest culture war skirmish that they should just drop.

                Does that answer your question?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Van_Owen
                Ignored
                says:

                What are the starting points?

                Talk to gun rights folks, and you get something similar. The compromises they agreed to where in 1934, and 1968, and 1990-something (I forget). So when they are accused of not compromising, they are starting from a much different point than the people accusing them.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Ironically, despite still believing in basically gun confiscation, gun rights folks are the only people among the current conservative coalition who I’ll agree have something to personally measurably lose from a more left-wing America, outside of cultural power.

                Well, and incredibly rich people.Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                More than half a million dead children every year is a pretty big loss.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, except to be blunt, in our current political climate, those babies are getting killed anyway. So, it’s not going to get any worse (and abortion rates have consistently gone down recently).

                So, that’s different from say, gun rights, which under a more liberal regime would be lessened.Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                True. Accepting a liberal regime means walking away from those lives though. That is a pretty big give away.Report

              • Avatar The Question in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pretty sure people would take the conservative religious objection to killing children more seriously if you guys had any solutions for what to do after the child is born but the millisecond it comes out of the womb you no longer caring you’re ready to cut its mom’s MedicaidReport

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to The Question
                Ignored
                says:

                Not me. Personally, I am strongly pro-choice and anti-abortion. I want to see a world where abortion is widely available and accessible, yet no one wants one.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                and incredibly rich people

                Stupid and lazy rich people. Smart rich people will see the writing on the wall and find ways to keep their wealth and power, at least enough of it that it won’t matter much to them.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Van_Owen
                Ignored
                says:

                Van_Owen: I think that this does illustrate an issue with a focus on “compromise.” What are the starting points? I think I fairly described them above, but if the Little Sisters treat the objection to filling out the form as their starting point, then I guess in their eyes we haven’t compromised at all.

                Without explaining in detail what I do, most likely because it’s boring, I compromise for a living.

                The only way you put yourself in a situation where compromise is possible is if you know going in that both parties have room to move and are willing to do that.

                You say provide it. They say no. You say sign a form so you don’t have to pay for it. They say you’re asking them to believe that by not paying for it but making it available anyway, they’re technically not providing it.

                Compromise does not involve forcing someone to do something and trying to gloss over that fact through technicalities or third party involvement. I deal with real estate sellers that try to pull this crap and it’s a non-starter every time.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                This a perfect example of where the “extreme” liberal position was in fact, Kristin’s compromise.
                The Sisters were not asked to take BC, or buy BC, or even pay for someone else’s BC.
                They were asked to allow their employees to select a health plan that covered it.
                In this case, “allowing you to do something in your own home” was too radical and extreme.Report

              • Avatar Arky Vaughan in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe I’m confused but my employer doesn’t pay for my health insurance

                It is part of my compensation package

                I pay for it through my labor

                What burden does this impose on anyone?

                What difference would it make if Little Sisters of the poor employee took their paycheck and bought birth control

                Same differenceReport

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Reformed Republican
          Ignored
          says:

          Sort of like how lawyers define settlement, “everyone leaves unhappy.”Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            To me that’s the beauty of liberal democracy if managed well. No one leaves happy but everyone leaves alive, and able to come back to the table another day.

            Looking for happiness in our system is missing the point. Sometimes I wonder if our consumer culture and expectations of instant gratification aren’t themselves partially to blame for where we are.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Like, we prosecute 50% of the cops, and let the other half go free?

      That would be a huge improvement over the current situation.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      We can always find some topic where the stakes are so high that some simple compromise isn’t feasible. That isn’t the point.

      The point is, when every topic is treated as a life or death struggle, when you can not compromise anywhere, ever; then the truly important struggles, the ones that actually matter, because people are being truly harmed in profound and life destroying ways, they get lost in the noise.

      I mean, police are killing black men, right now. Also, right now, there are a couple of bakers and florists and photographers who don’t want to service gay weddings.

      One of these things is important and involves serious harm to a minority.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        What if you’re white and gay? It all depends on who’s defining what’s important. One thing Americans (maybe all humans) have always lacked is empathy. Everyone’s viewpoint is the right one.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
          Ignored
          says:

          Lacking empathy… yep.

          The other day I was listening to an interview with the guy who wrote ‘Raising Cain’. He was talking about how empathy is not innate, it must be taught to children. Some kids pick it up much faster than others, but it’s still something we have to teach, and the process of teaching it starts at infancy and carries well into adulthood.

          The point he was getting at is that in modern society, boys are not taught empathy much past a early point, whereas girls often get it in taught in spades (although what girls learn could be a whole other discussion). And research has found that boys, especially teenage boys, who regularly have to take care of younger children, develop a greater capacity for empathy than boys who don’t.

          Which got me thinking about our school system, and what we have potentially lost by segregating the ages so severely (when compared to the old one room school houses, or even modern Montessori schools, where the ages all commingle and are expected to help each other, etc.). I think we may have avoided the issue coming to the fore for a while because families were still large and tightly located, such that even if a child was an only child, or a youngest, there were still younger cousins, or nephews/nieces, or just the kids of family friends that the older kids were expected to help with. But as families have gotten smaller, and more segregated…Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Slade the Leveller
          Ignored
          says:

          @slade
          I’m white and bi and I don’t give a crap about cake bakers, even if I only look at other issues that other white gay people are facing. (It’s not true that I do that, but if I *try* to pretend to do that, I still don’t care about cake bakers.)

          I know a LOT of white gay people who don’t care about cake bakers. I know some who do, but not life and death, more like “and in other ‘fuck you too’ news…” Or, at worst, they think we’re already in a war with people who want to wipe us out (which a significant segment of the people they are thinking of do want!) and they see baking the cake as a strategic win (where I see it as a strategic loss).

          I agree with Oscar about this.

          No idea if you also identify as gay – I think you don’t – but in general I hear from a lot more people who are offended on my behalf that cakes won’t be baked, and are also offended on black people’s behalf about people being killed, and then equate the two in terms of importance to address (or, even, ugh, elevate controlling the bakers and florists), than I ever have from LGBTQ people equating the two.

          I mean, when it comes to people I actually know, not clickbait articles on clickbait-oriented sites.Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Maribou
            Ignored
            says:

            Straight guy here, but I do have a gay daughter. The whole baker thing seemed like such small beer to me, but I guess so did lunch counters to a white Southerner in the 60s. I was trying to get at empathy here, not relitigate the baker’s case. (Though the whole introduction of so-called conscience exceptions scares the piss out of me.)

            Oscar has taken us in an interesting direction. Many have bemoaned the de-collectivization of American life. Maybe that’s at the root of our problems.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Slade the Leveller
              Ignored
              says:

              That is sort of the point. You can frame the issue in ways that make it look small fry and petty. But I look at it from the point of what does it means to be an equal citizen in this country (or any other country).

              Having it be okay that someone or some organization can deny you an educational, economic, or commercial opportunity because of your race, religion, sexuality, creed, etc. How is someone an equal citizen if someone can say “We don’t let gay people into this restaurant?” or “We don’t hire Jews” and this is honky dory.

              Most of the people (note I say most, not all) are middle aged white-dudes who will never face such queries but almost certainly fret that they will.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                But I look at it from the point of what does it means to be an equal citizen in this country (or any other country).

                I look at it from an ‘available resources’ perspective.

                The collective will of the citizenry has a finite amount of attention and effort it can focus on any given issue. Some folks have more time and attention they can spend, most have very little. Of all the things that you care about, which ones are important enough that you would want those folks with very little attention to spend to focus on?

                And keep in mind that whatever topic you choose, there will be others who want the citizenry to focus that attention toward their goals.

                So not only do you need to narrow the focus, you have to be highly compelling as you do so.

                So to your point, what grants greater equality of a citizen, being able to force a private citizen to bake you a wedding cake, or finding a way to get police to stop killing people who aren’t a true threat?

                Pick. Your. Effing. Battles.

                Sometimes that means you surrender the field over there, so you can focus your efforts over here.Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                There is no future America in which a white male would have his status diminished in any way from what he enjoys today. Worrying about this non-event is pointless and silly. Those stoking this fear are people we really need to worry about.

                How is someone an equal citizen if someone can say “We don’t let gay people into this restaurant?” or “We don’t hire Jews” and this is honky dory.

                Trying to erase everyone’s petty prejudices is a fool’s unwinnable game. The war has already been won. Worrying about some isolated redoubt is a waste of time.

                I agree with Oscar’s point below regarding picking your battles. One bakery won’t bake your cake? Take your custom elsewhere. There are other bakers who will be happy to take your cash. There are other, bigger ills in this society and they need our attention more now than ever.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                There is no future America in which a white male would have his status diminished in any way from what he enjoys today.

                Forced busing and educational integration comes pretty close. I intend to have my kids do as well as they can in life.

                The best way to do that is to minimize their exposure to kids with serious problems… which are mostly related to poverty… which in turn can translate into race. “Serious problems” means “things which suck up the teacher’s time which should be spent educating my kid”.

                ———————–

                Another potential issue is pensions and paying for the rest of the “elderly” stuff. The budget for this will/is squeezing out basically everything else, which specifically includes “help for the poor”. Saying “you don’t get your pension because these other people are more worthy” also seems like “reducing someone’s status”.Report

  9. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    You have a point, Kristin, and I tend to think we white liberals could dial back the judgementalness.

    And, I have a personal stake in many of these issues. My daughter is a trans woman. This had a big, negative impact on her until she successfully transitioned. I want her to be safe and happy, and I’m not going to admit that I’m “wrong” about that. If there’s trouble in the women’s bathroom, it isn’t going to be her causing it, and any other woman in there is going to be glad she’s there. She will have your back.

    I am not about to dial back my support of her, or other people like her. I love her, and that’s that.

    In addition, my day is full of Mexican Americans. They enrich my life. We operate on a basis of mutual respect. There are also a few Muslim Americans in my life. There is one restaurant we go to weekly that serves Mediterranean food. Once in a while, their daughter is there wearing hijab. I love their food, they are friendly, they hire a broad spectrum of workers. They are worth having here.

    Again, this makes it personal. I’m not about to back down on my support for friends and acquaintances.

    Now, I have no intention of policing POC in their statements. There are those who are eloquent, and those who are not-so-much. I get where their feelings come from, even if I might not agree in detail about their statements. People who have suffered trauma are often very bad at describing what happened to them, at least at first.

    Meanwhile, I think white liberals could dial back their self-righteousness a bit. Every white person in America has a legacy of learned racism. It’s impossible to grow up in this culture without it. It has to be unlearned. It can be unlearned, but maybe only partially. The tendency to divide the world into Us and Them is deeply embedded in humans. We need to do better, to make the effort. It’s worth it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay
      Ignored
      says:

      “You have a point, Kristin, and I tend to think we white liberals could dial back the judgementalness.”

      I strongly disagree with this Doctor Jay.

      First, it seems to go into the stupid trope of the Palinista world view that whiteness innately goes with being conservative, rural, and also in some kind of working class/physical job. In this worldview, white liberals are race and class traitors and upper-middle class “coastal elitists.”* It is a natural praise of the so-called and self-described “heartland” that I reject. I reject it with the same ferocity that I reject allowing the right-wing Congresscritters to call themselves the House “Freedom” Caucus. Why do they get a monopoly on defining freedom? Why am I morally obligated to go long with their definitions of freedom and liberty?

      Second, a lot of issues on liberalism are not just about race and ethnicity though many are. Abortion is not about race. Freedom of Belief is not about race. LBGT issues are not necessarily about race. Environmentalism is not necessarily about race. Minimum wage and other economic issues are not about race.

      I was born in 1980. The “moral majority” and “Christian right” have been around for my entire life. They have always loved to preen about how moral and pure and good they are compared to the corrupt and degenerate secular world. They have also proven themselves to be massive hypocrites for my entire life. They get involved in sex scandals. They have high-rates of teenage pregnancy and/or STDs because they refuse to develop serious sex-ed programs and they force abstinence only down the rest of our throats. They tell me I will burn in hell and suffer never ending torment because I don’t believe Christ is the messiah. And Donald Trump is the straw that broke the camel’s back. They are so desperate to maintain their social order that they gave the Presidency to an irreligious libertine and they do mental gymnastics to prove why he is a Godly and changed man. Meanwhile, I have a hard time thinking of a man more devoted to his wife and children than Barack Obama. Barack Obama was a good man and a good Christian by all the ways it should be defined and the Christian right shat in their pants and created a trillion tons of manufactured horror at him. For what? Wearing a tan suit?

      Why should I be non-judgemental here? Why should I assume that the Christian Right is godly and moral just because they say so? They haven’t done anything in my view to earn it.

      *Of course “elitist” is one of the most heavily weaponsized phrases in the United States politically. As far as I can tell, the right-wing would describe a woman who lives with three roommates in a Brooklyn flat and teaches public school as an elitist if the woman splurged on tickets to BAM, the Joyce, or New York Theatre workshop every now and then. Meanwhile a Florida paving contractor with a 500K house and a 200k boat is not an elitist. This is bullshit.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        It seems I have not made myself clear. I’m talking about attitudes, not facts. Facts are facts. Behavior has consequences, and both of those are facts.

        We need to talk more about the impact that certain behaviors have on us. We need to talk less about how terrible the people who behaved that way are.

        This is, in fact, a basic building block in having good relationships. Psychologists talk about them as “I” statements. Or, another formula is

        1. What happened.
        2. What it meant to you.
        3. How you felt about it.

        That’s all fair game. We need to be more vulnerable, just as Dr. Blasey was. This attitude puts me out of step with all politics as we know and practice it today, in which demonizing the opponents by using guilt by association is standard practice. I detest that practice.

        So, I’m not a trans person. I’m not a person of color. Nor am I a woman. I need to play my position and talk about this sort of thing from my own experience, from my own point of view. This is more powerful. I’ve done it in lots of settings. It’s scary, though. It’s quite possible you could be mocked and ridiculed. That has happened to me. Not generally here.

        Let’s check in with, say Lincoln’s Second Inaugural:

        If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

        That is the opposite of “you guys are terrible”. I don’t think that was simple rhetoric, or more baldly, a lie, on Lincoln’s part, either.Report

  10. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t want to post anything ideological on this thread, but I think this is relevant.

    We were never a country that got along. We were a bunch of slave-traders, utopian cult leaders, and bitter monarchists who had very little in common. So we agreed to establish a system that gave us minimal control over each other. We were separate states who shared a few common national features. We went to war with each other, and found that we had to concentrate power a little more than we’d planned, but we were still considerably independent. But that’s eroded over time. We don’t have to contemplate divorce or agree with each other if we’ve got some room to ourselves. I’ve got a couple of other thoughts about this article, but I’m sure I’ll have a chance to add them elsewhere.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not really into the cult of the founders (pro or con) but there’s a bit more to it than this. Our government was founded in part on concepts coming out of the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War. No it didn’t hurt that there was a lot of space and lack of centralized authority but real thought went into the system. It isn’t sacrosanct but I don’t think it was exactly blind luck/geography as destiny either.Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      ” We don’t have to contemplate divorce or agree with each other if we’ve got some room to ourselves. ”

      “Damn it, why won’t liberals just give us some room to ourselves so we can continue to allow open discrimination against people unlike us in our area, limit reproductive choice of people in political opposition to us in our area, ripping apart our meager welfare state that largely goes to people in political opposition of us in our area, giving political cover to cops to do whatever they wish to suspects, and so on, and so forth.”

      That’s the problem @Pinky with giving right-leaning areas some “room to yourselves” is they turn state and local power on to those who are weaker and with less political power than those with local and state political power.

      If the results of giving right-leaning areas “some room to themselves” was a slightly smaller welfare state and more gun rights, but more freedom for women, LGBT folks, etc. that might be something to put up with in the name of national unity. The reality is what’s gone on in every state legislative in almost every ‘Red State’ since 2010.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes. Agreed with all that.

        And we need to give them room anyway. Bad ideas need to be tried and shown to be bad. Many “perfect” solutions will turn out to be less than perfect (for example gun control).

        Worse, shoving even perfect solutions down people’s throats will create opposition and requires the political/legal/moral framework needed for them to do the same to you.

        Sooner or later, someone MUCH worse than Trump will be in charge of implementing whatever framework we have. That’s something to keep in mind when we start thinking about how we’re going to force people to be as good as we are.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        I get that you think the right is bullies. Do you get that I think that the left is bullies? You should be able to reason it out, and if this thread is about coexistence, it’s something worth doing.

        But even that aside, think about what your comment says about the possibility of compromise or coexistence. In my world, everyone can live under the laws their area chooses, and move if it’s important enough to them. (I know moving isn’t easy for everyone, but at least it’s a safety valve.) In your world, only your side should be allowed to dominate. (You don’t even consider what happens when the left is allowed room to itself.) Leaving aside the question of whether or not you and I are able to compromise at certain times, why shouldn’t I consider you a dedicated enemy?Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          In my world, everyone can live under the laws their area chooses, and move if it’s important enough to them. (I know moving isn’t easy for everyone, but at least it’s a safety valve.)

          Because here in the US that has a long history of being an excuse for imposing those laws on people who have no say in them, by systematically disenfranchising them, and then using various forms of state force and coercion to keep them impoverished, keep them from advocating for change, and often subject them to criminal penalties that make moving even more difficult than it would otherwise be.

          If we were starting from square one, maybe this would be a workable compromise.

          The problem is we aren’t. Big chunks of the country have a million excellent reasons to believe that federalism and local control are a scam.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
            Ignored
            says:

            Big chunks of the country have a million excellent reasons to believe that federalism and local control are a scam.

            As someone who lives in Colorado, lemme tell ya: there’s a million and one reasons to believe that Federal Supremacy ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.Report

            • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Still better than giving local fiefdoms absolute power over peoples lives. The only thing worse than Republicans on the national level are most Republican’s at the state and local levels. Especially in areas where they’re the majority.Report

          • Avatar Dave in reply to pillsy
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            says:

            The reality is that people like federalism when it’s applied to something they like and they don’t like it when states violate people’s rights.

            We’re all fair weather fans whether you realize it or not.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Unsurprisingly, I’m with Chip Daniels here.

    I will start off with the observation that OT is a political blog filled with political junkies. Just like LGM or people who comment on RedState or The National Review. I would bet money that an overwhelming number of Americans do not pay attention to politics with the same intensity that we do. If we are at 11, many, maybe most, Americans are between 2-4. There was an article on Vox a few weeks ago about how 30 percent or so of young Americans (18-29) don’t consider it very important to vote in the 2018 elections.*

    But otherwise Chip is right. It is attractive to imagine some grand bargain and/or compromise in the abstract but in reality these calls become insulting to intelligence. These are serious issues that people feel on an existential level. Clawing back the social changes that started in the 1960s is clearly very important to many people on the right. There are an equal number or more people in the United States that disagree and will be marginalized and isolated by any rollback. What is the compromise between someone whom thinks abortion is murder and someone who doesn’t believe that a fetus as any quality known as a soul.

    A lot of these calls for compromise end up being another way of just saying “Liberals, please sit down and shut up. You upset us.” Fuck that shit.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Given the congressional district I’m in, I’d probably agree with the 30% of college students. As for OT’s level of political knowledge, it’s far above average, but remember that all those dummies out there have equal access to Facebook. The overall political discussion in the country isn’t limited to people who know about it or even care about it other than as a team sport.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      I for got my asterisk.

      *The problem with these polls is that it is impossible to tell anything about the demographic. They could be the right-wing 18-29 year olds who are demoralized by Trump. They could be left-sympathizing but have a “too cool for school” attitude when it comes to voting. They could be a combination.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      A lot of these calls for compromise end up being another way of just saying “Liberals, please sit down and shut up. You upset us.” Fuck that shit.

      Is there a point at which you might be willing to say “huh… this isn’t working”?

      We’re five weeks away from an election, after all. Is there an election outcome that would get you to say “okay… um… I’m not saying that we should sit down and shut up but I am willing to relax my standing pose and listen for a few moments”?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Why do you use the word “listen”?

        Do you think we aren’t hearing what Trump, Shapiro, Milo, Peterson are saying?
        Do you think no one noticed that thousands of children are being interned in a latter day gulag?

        Maybe people are angry precisely BECAUSE we are listening, and watching.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, I was under the impression that you were being told to shut up.

          If you were listening, then you obviously were not in need of being told to do so.

          Carry on.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            If the question is, “what do we do if “this” isn’t working” then we just find another tactic.

            Much of what the civil rights movement did, failed to produce results, and each time they just switched tactics, until they finally won.

            Because there is, literally, no other option.

            When people urge us all to “just get along and treat each other with respect” they ignore that what we want, our wild outrageous demands, our shoot the moon goal, is exactly that.

            Trans and gay people want as their ultimate goal, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to get along with everyone.

            Immigrant advocates want immigrants to be treated with dignity and respect.

            Women want to be treated with dignity and respect, and equals.

            People of color want to stop being shot, and treated with dignity and respect.

            A total, unconditional victory for these groups is exactly what Kristin calls for. A world where everyone gets along and is treated with respect.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              With the partial exception of your last point this epitomizes the problem. ‘Dignity and respect’ are fleeting, nebulous words that mean different things to different people. There’s no universally agreed upon way to grant it, measure it, or decide when it has been sufficiently provided. For purposes of politics and policy they’re meaningless. You might as well say ‘I demand that we make everyone happy.’

              Conversely ‘I should not he denied access to this accommodation, or to this job because I am black’ or ‘I should not be denied the ability to serve in the military because I am gay’ are tangible and achievable policy goals.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to InMD
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                says:

                @inmd It seems entirely reasonable to define “dignity and respect” as equality before the law.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                I am good with that definition but I don’t think it’s the natural interpretation. If that’s how we want people to understand it then it needs to be explicitly stated.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                @inmd It isn’t the natural interpretation to whom? Those that oppose it? Or those that lack it? Or both, maybe?Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                It isn’t the natural interpretation to me and I agree with the concept of equality before the law. Maybe I’m out of touch but I think if you asked 50 different people what ‘dignity and respect’ means to them you’d get 50 different answers, many of them having nothing to do with the law or even politics.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to InMD
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                says:

                @inmd I suppose that might be true, but I doubt you’d have too many people who offer you a concept of dignity and respect that specifically excluded equal treatment.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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                says:

                Equal treatment under the law is a very different concept from equal treatment within society. At least, I think it is, and I’d be shocked if most people agree with your position on it. I don’t think you even agree with it, truly. If we lived in a society with identical legal treatment for black and whites, but the n word was constantly used by whites as an insult to blacks, I doubt you’d be ok with it.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                @pinky I’m very glad you understand the difference. Can you let all of your buddies who don’t understand the difference know?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, you’re the only one I can think of who’s ever failed to understand the difference. If you like, I could explain it to you again….Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                OK. There are a lot of conservatives who think that what liberals are really after is to make our way of thinking illegal. I’ve always considered that an exaggeration, but looking at your comment again, it has me wondering. If you don’t make a distinction between equality under the law and equality within culture, then do you see any problem with outlawing beliefs? I mean, you’re the one who equated the two, then said there was a difference, so I don’t know what your really think. Have you ever thought about it? I’d find it even scarier if you’d never considered the implication of your definition. I know that you and I don’t agree on much, so you may not take my advice on this, but you really should flesh out your original statement or you’ll leave a lot of things unanswered.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                @pinky So what you’re saying is that pursuing equality before the law will necessarily “make our way of thinking illegal” or what exactly? Because I am relatively certain that, for example, allowing gays to marry has not prevented straights from marrying, nor has it prevented bigots from continuing to hate both gays and gay marriage.

                As for my “original statement” – what are you referencing?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                “It seems entirely reasonable to define ‘dignity and respect’ as equality before the law.”Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                @pinky Which part of that are you objecting to?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                You made the above quote. I replied, “Equal treatment under the law is a very different concept from equal treatment within society.” You answered. “I’m very glad you understand the difference.” Whatever objections I may have are beside the point. You’re the one who had an objection to your original statement.

                “A=B”
                “A=/=B”
                “Yes”Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                “OK. There are a lot of conservatives who think that what liberals are really after is to make our way of thinking illegal. ”

                I mean, what “way of thinking” are you talking about here? After all, and I’m not comparing conservatives to supporters of slavery, but in 1885, I’m sure a lot of former slaveowners thought “liberals” were trying to make their way of thinking illegal as well. Nobody was tossed in jail, but society shamed and shut out those who wanted a return to pre-1865.

                Or for a more recent example, we didn’t get majority support for interracial marriage until the late 80’s to early 90’s depending on the polling you look at. Do you think it was a bad thing that there was no voice on the three major networks the editorial voices of all the largest newspapers or magazines that Loving vs. Virginia was a bad idea?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                Pinky,

                Are you referring to some of the ideas coming out of the far left and militant social justice activists that approach equality from an epistemological basis far different than ours?

                Yeah, that exists but it’s not a liberal position at all. It’s not even close to the kind of threat that someone like a Jordan Peterson makes it out to be.

                Judging by Jesse’s and Sam’s responses, I’m not even sure if they’ve come across it and I doubt they’d call it representative of liberalism. I don’t.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                Sam Wilkinson: @InMD It seems entirely reasonable to define “dignity and respect” as equality before the law.

                That just punts the problem to defining “equality before the law”.

                In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

                If white people can refuse to hire or rent to black people, and black people have the same right with respect to white people (and, just incidentally, white people control substantially all the jobs and rental accomodations), does that satisfy “equality before the law”?

                If black people tend to get charged for possession of small quantities of marijuana, be defended by overworked public defenders who advise them to take the harsh plea deal being offered, spend close to the maximum available term in prison when convicted; and white people tend to get away with a warning, be offered much more generous plea deals if charged, be able to afford their own lawyers, and the odd time they are convicted tend to get a small fine or some community service hours – all entirely within the range of options laid out in the law – does that satisfy “equality before the law”?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                True “equality before the law” would take the discretion out of the system completely. All charges must be tried (no pleas), and all convictions result in specific penalties. And the PD is as well funded as the DA.

                What I think people really want is for a progressive justice system, when the better able a person is to defend themselves and recover from a conviction, the more serious the penalty (kind of like how Sweden sets traffic fines according to ability to pay, so the CEO speeding down the highway gets slapped with a 6 figure fine).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                What you describe isn’t necessarily a progressive justice system. “Under the law, everyone pays 1% of their annual income for each speeding violation.” Still equality under the law, just by a different measure.

                I also agree with Dragonfrog that “equality under the law” just kicks the can down the road. Eg., in one very limited understanding of the term, restricting marriage to only opposite sex partners is still “equality under the law” since gay people aren’t prevented from getting married.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The big question is: “How do we use the law to deal with inequality”… and the answer is we don’t really know.

                I’m old enough to remember President Clinton signing into law a cranking up of the drug war… while surrounded by black politicians who thought the world of him for doing that. I remember forced busing.

                I think it’s clear we’re NOT just one cheap policy or law away from some utopia (cranking up the WOD clearly wasn’t the solution). I don’t even think it’s clear that one horrifically expensive policy could fix equality. It’s possible we’re generations away.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not sure any of that touches on the philosophical point Pinky was making since it seems pretty clear that (eg) differential sentencing for possession of rock and powder cocaine satisfies the equality under the law condition, yet those laws differentially apply to distinct groups of people. And whether Clinton had the support of black people when instituting policies which would negatively impact black people more than whites is a political issue, seems to me. The point I was getting at, tho, is that equality under the law isn’t a sufficient condition for the criminal justice system to be *not* discriminatory.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Agreed, people have different ideas what ‘equality under the law’ looks like, which makes it hard to know how to get there.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                If discriminatory means something roughly like “making decisions on the basis of perceived group”, then equality under the law is a sufficient condition for the criminal justice system to be not discriminatory. Discrimination relates to the process, not the outcome.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                …differential sentencing for possession of rock and powder cocaine satisfies the equality under the law condition, yet those laws differentially apply to distinct groups of people…

                This was a feature, not a flaw, and it was the big reason Clinton had Black support. The law was supposed to “help” Blacks far more than Whites because their neighborhoods were suffering more.

                …Whether Clinton had the support of black people when instituting policies which would negatively impact black people more than whites is a political issue…

                The “political” point I’m making is the people at the time thought they were doing the right thing, and this was going to massively help the Black community. This should be a cause for concern in the context of various other “the State knows what to do on this issue” solutions.

                equality under the law isn’t a sufficient condition for the criminal justice system to be *not* discriminatory.

                Sure, agreed… but there’s a disconnect between “we’re going to make the criminal justice system not discriminatory” and “we’re going to use the power of the government to uplift people” and I strongly suspect the later is a bigger priority than the former.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, agreed… but there’s a disconnect between “we’re going to make the criminal justice system not discriminatory” and “we’re going to use the power of the government to uplift people”

                I don’t think you understand that point being made, Dark. It has nothing to do with the intentions motivating the enactment of any particular law. It’s that the concept of equality under the law, considered in isolation, can be satisfied for various laws even tho those laws have disparate impact on actual individuals based on race or gender or religious identification or etc.

                A law passed banningReport

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          You skirted the question.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I am on Chip’s side. Maybe people are angry because they are paying attention. Has that occurred to you?

        The problem with a lot of this “listening” begging is thus:

        1. It always seems to be a one-way street. There is never any pressure on the right-wing like Shapiro and Peterson to listen to their critics.

        2. You assume that listening should and/or will result in the left moderating and/or compromising.

        What compromise exists with someone like Miller or Shapiro? I can’t tell whether you have sympathy for the alt-right or you are just afraid of them and think they need to be appeased at all costs.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          I am on Chip’s side.

          Oh, I’ve no doubt of that!

          What compromise exists with someone like Miller or Shapiro? I can’t tell whether you have sympathy for the alt-right or you are just afraid of them and think they need to be appeased at all costs.

          It’s more that I see the ultimatum game like this:

          The choice is between
          A: A Workable Compromise
          B: Trump

          And it’s like an off-brand Hobson’s Choice. If I do not choose A, then I will get B.

          I can’t come up with anything for A.

          Therefore: I will get B.

          And arguments about how I shouldn’t have to get B are true enough, I suppose, but they’re not terribly interesting.Report

          • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            @jaybird What is the workable compromise middle ground that can be achieved on the issues currently dividing us? Does it even exist?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson
              Ignored
              says:

              What is the workable compromise middle ground that can be achieved on the issues currently dividing us? Does it even exist?

              Is “divorce” a workable compromise?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird Given the financial realities, I doubt it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                So let’s say there are no workable compromises. Then what?Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird The continued fight between those in favor of equality and those opposed to it I guess. And whatever badness comes along with that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                Best of luck to you and yours, then.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird What other options are there? To put that another way, how many lives/rights/freedoms would have to be sacrificed to satiate Trump’s supporters?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                How many Trumps will we have to elect before you’re willing to say “okay, maybe we should have taken a different tack on the whole compromise thing”?

                Or, I suppose, go for divorce or war?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “We wouldn’t have Trump if liberals were more like conservatives. Dammit, why won’t anyone LISTEN to me!”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                If I argued the mainstream liberal positions that were popular in 1992, how much of a modern conservative would I sound like?

                If I sounded like Democratic presidential candidates sounded in 2008 on mainstream liberal positions, how much of a modern conservative would I sound like?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                God I hope the Dem brain trust is reading this thread, Jaybird. You’re giving out all this great political advice FOR FREE!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                If they didn’t listen to me when I said that hiring Lena Dunham to run Hillary Clinton’s Instagram was a bad idea, I’m pretty sure they won’t listen to me on this.

                If there’s one piece of advice they need to follow it’s this one: Go back to Dean’s 50-State Solution. This means running DINOs in some states. This means running people who only agree with 80% of the platform.

                But, hey. Why should they listen to me? I’m just some guy on the ‘net. WE NEED TO DRUMPF TRUMP!Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So stop nominating bernie bros like Doug Jones in bama. Now that is actionable advice.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Why in the hell would you argue that? Doug Jones proved he could win.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But, hey. Why should they listen to me? I’m just some guy on the ‘net.

                That’s what I’m saying, Jaybird. You could make BANK with all these great tips and bits of advice. You broke the code! And you’re just GIVING it away. Amazing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’ll go back to my theory that Ordinary Times is a petri dish of modern Democratic thought. Like, stuff that comes here and flourishes will do well out in the wild. Stuff that wilts and dies will wilt and die out in the real world.

                If we can get some of the usual suspects to say “you know what… yeah… not only were mistakes made but we need to look at what they were and whether they could have been avoided and, get this, not do them again” then I have hope that the modern Democrats will do such a thing.

                As it is, I’m not seeing something like that happen.

                As far as I can tell, the only things that could cause such a thing to happen are unlikely to the point of not really being worth discussing.

                So I sit and I wait for November 6th. (Or maybe the 7th.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As near as i can tell the liberal bunch here is far whiter, wonkier and more male then the D’s as a whole. We aren’t a good random sample.

                Edit: we aren’t a random sample of course. But we aren’t a represetntive sample of the D’s. That is the more precise and pedantic point.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s a fun example.

                Not entirely sure why this is in LGBTQ Nation, but the author is clearly not writing this to convince veterans that they should welcome others to share their status, nor do I think the author has any real idea why veterans would object to doing so. It’s obviously written to (hopefully) appeal to a very specific audience. If you look in the comments, the author has a reply that shows that he is upset that a bunch of veterans have read his article and found it lacking.

                In the grand scheme, this idea is going nowhere. And it’s clearly one academic just tossing an idea out there, which academics are expected to do, and which progressive academics do a lot. They are progressive, pushing boundaries is what they do. And for those of us who have experienced the academy, we get this. In the pre-internet days, the tossing around of ideas like this would largely be confined to other academics and/or think tanks, etc. But these days, sites are always hungry for content and clicks, so if a professor wants to toss his idea into the wild like this, regardless of how viable it is, they are happy to oblige him/her.

                The problem with tossing something like this out into the wild is that everyone else doesn’t get that this is just what academics do. They take this way more seriously than anyone should*, and it quickly becomes the latest thing for culture warriors to hold up and blast the entirety of the left with.

                Should people stop floating ideas like this? Clearly the answer is no. But they could keep in mind that if they let it out into the wild, they run the risk of alienating moderates (I’ve had quite a few left leaning vets I know get seriously steamed about the suggestion in the article). One article alone probably doesn’t cause a massive shift, but when there is a new one out every week, it starts to add up. I mean, most people are some degree of conservative, even if they are liberal, everyone has things that are sacrosanct, and the progressive left just can’t help itself but to go after those things, to try and disrupt them.

                And again, I get it. Everyone here gets it. Everyone out there thinks it’s a serious effort at a policy proposal, and the culture warriors are happy to blast the message and make sure everyone thinks it’s a serious effort at a policy proposal.

                What to do about it? I have no clue. But it damages the brand and dilutes the messaging, and things that are really important and serious get lost in the noise over stupid shit like this.

                *It’s not like the guy is a Senator, or a federal judge, or Brass at the Pentagon. He’s a prof at a SLAC.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                “The guy ahead of me in line got a 10% discount… *I* should get a 10% discount!”

                (That was a fun article and the comments were even more fun. Thanks!)Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Well that was…weird.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                I know! But people take it as a serious policy proposal, rather than the brain droppings of some professor. Like if the Dems take control of congress in November, this will be seriously floated as a piece of legislation.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                My view from the Left here is that it’s insanely unfair and basically unworkable that the broad center left has to be responsible for the writings of every professor without tenure who writes weird things on the Internet because said things are hyped by right-wing Facebook pages and FOX News, while the right can continue to have a basically open white supremacist in a position of power in the House and prominent members of the GOP aren’t even asked about him.

                Like, yes, if Maxine Waters says something dumb, I can at least see the argument why the wider Democratic Party is on the hook, but for the most part, most liberal attacks on conservatism are about ya’ know, the actions and words of people either running for election or elected officials, not MAGAAmerica1953 on Twitter.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                Especially since, if I read it correctly, the author of the wacky leftist article wants to have the definition of “veteran” expanded to include a grab bag of conflict mediators, diplomats, etc included.

                This, this, is the far extreme left that terrifies conservatives, and keeps them up at night and forces them to embrace Trump?

                Pol Pot: I suggest we exterminate anyone wearing eyeglasses; *nods of approval around the room*

                Stalin: Lets starve all the Ukranians; *murmurs of assent*

                Professor: Lets give a 10% discount on slushies to conflict mediators;

                *gasps of horror and disbelief*Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                OMG Chip, did we just agree on something?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                This is pretty much what I see on Youtube. Videos of people pointing out the worst the left has to offer, which is the lunatic fringe, hype it up to reflect the mainstream left and do it enough times before people believe it.

                Then again, with the fever swamps on the right, should anyone be surprised?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                The irony is, I see more people pissed about goofy shit like this than I do about, say, Elizabeth Warren and some of her less-than-workable ideas.

                Fever swamps, indeed.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                The irony is, I see more people pissed about goofy shit like this than I do about, say, Elizabeth Warren and some of her less-than-workable ideas.

                Did you hear about the new trendy idea coming out of the fever swamps?

                Capitulation. Apparently I’m supposed to want to earn the solidarity and credibility of MAGA supporters that obviously don’t even lift.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, that’s not happening.

                ETA: I’ll capitulate when they come up with an idea that isn’t grade-A stupid out of the box (like, oh, let’s see, tariffs).Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Oscar,

                Worse, when they DO criticize Warren, they come across as uninformed buffoons. Ack, socialism, communism, aaaaaaaahhhhhh.

                I say that as a critic too.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                At this point, my normal response of “But that’s not socialism/communism!” is so reflexive with the MAGA crowd that I have to actually check myself and make sure that it isn’t something that would be appropriately labeled as such.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                God I hope the Dem brain trust is reading this thread, Jaybird. You’re giving out all this great political advice FOR FREE!

                Hey, don’t forget capitulation.

                We’re in the middle of a demographic rejection of the lib/Dem strategy of antagonism toward white, male, Christian, conservative flyover America. It’s time to quit indulging the status anxieties of a coalition in the middle of demographic decline and start getting on board with the new America.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird “We” didn’t elect Trump. Americans opposed his election aggressively. But what compromise are you imagining here? It seems entirely fair to pursue an explanation as to what liberals are supposed to compromise to ensure an end to the election of candidates like Trump. So what are the specifics of the proposal?Report

              • Avatar The Question in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I figured out what I hate about your commenting style lately. it’s the fact that in your world only Democrats and liberals have agency Republicans and conservatives just react to the terrible things we do to them.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to The Question
                Ignored
                says:

                Murc’s law is a thing on LGM for a reason.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to The Question
                Ignored
                says:

                I assume that, as a whole, Republicans and conservatives are NPCs, yes. (Occasionally you find the Player Character among them, but it’s one of those “A Person Is Smart, People Are Dumb” situations.)

                Should I give them more credit? Would giving them more credit make you feel better?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                How very convenient for them. They are nothing more than tools of the Dungeon Master, apparently the Devil in this case, uses to challenge the PCs. It allows them excuses from their acts.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, I don’t really assume the existence of a DM.

                We’re deep in “emergent gameplay” territory.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                What other options are there? To put that another way, how many lives/rights/freedoms would have to be sacrificed to satiate Trump’s supporters?

                Capitulation, respectability politics, and tone policing. Thereby earning solidarity and credibility with the rest of America.Report

            • Avatar Murali in reply to Sam Wilkinson
              Ignored
              says:

              On LGBT issues, here is one:

              Gay marriage is legal but christian bakers don’t have to bake a cake if they don’t want to.

              On migration:

              Amnesty for people already here and a gradual lowering of migrant quotas as well as tighter border security

              On Title IX:

              Greater protections for the accused but always refer to the police. If someone is accused of sexual assault, then it should be a police case, not an internal matter for the university.

              On farm subsidies:

              get rid of agricultural subsidies. This is not so much a compromise thing but a thing that both sides should dislike. The only reason why its still around is because the farm lobby is powerful and the yeoman farmer is still a cultural heroic archetype.

              On abortion:

              Something more like the european model where it is easily available for the first trimester, something almost impossible to get for the third (except in dire exigencies) and somewhat more variable on a state by state basis for the second trimester.

              On confederate statues:

              Keep the statues but put up a visible sign which makes clear that these people fought to maintain slavery.

              On climate change:

              Cap and trade, but also allow nuclear power

              On nature preservation/oil drilling

              Allow land to be available for purchase by private owners. Environmental groups which wish to prevent oil companies from drilling in a piece of land can buy that land. Oil companies just want profits and there are enough rich people who claim to be environmentally conscious (e.g. just about all the A-list actors in hollywood) who can come together to buy the land and put in a trust if they wanted to.

              Eminent Domain:

              This should be a bipartisan issue. I don’t even know why this is still around

              Police brutality:

              Body cameras with live mics, at least two per officer. It should be a fireable offence if both cameras happen to be off when a cop is on duty. Get rid of qualified immunity.

              Or, sharply curtail the activity/power of all public sector unions.

              Have I missed any particular issue?Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                “Something more like the european model where it is easily available for the first trimester, something almost impossible to get for the third (except in dire exigencies) and somewhat more variable on a state by state basis for the second trimester.”

                This is not actually the European model.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s easy to make a laundry list of compromise positions. What’s hard is to find someone on the other side of the table. It wasn’t that long ago, right after Obergfell, when social conservatives were whining that there should have been a compromise along the lines of civil unions, but the mean lib’ruls rammed gay marriage down their throats.
                I’m old enough to remember when that very compromise was being offered. There was no one (literally, there is always someone, but you know what I mean) on the anti-SSM side of the table who would take it.
                You can’t negotiate with yourself.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                I would vote for this platform.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe you would, but can you deliver anyone? Is there someone on the other side of the table who is willing to accept this platform?Report

              • Avatar Bill D in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                On immigration – Mandate companies use E-verify and enforce stricter penalties for hiring illegals., in addition to amnesty and tightening of the border.

                You have to cut the demand off.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Here are some things I saw today:

            A. Rich Lowry had an essay in The National Review saying that Atticus Finch was on the wrong side because he defended an alleged rapist. “Ha! Take that Libs!”

            B. Trump and company are revoking spousal diplomatic visas for same-sex diplomatic couples. Officially they say they are just trying to comply with U.S. law on same sex marriages and they will provide visas to same-sex marriage couples. However, the Trump admin knows this is disingenuous as an argument because many countries don’t recognize SSM or have home equivalents.

            A while ago Nikki Haley gave a speech to conservative high school students and told them that owning the libs might feel good but question the efficacy of it. The response from the students was “But we want to own the libs.”

            Your mode of compromise seems to be nothing but capitulation for whatever reason. That is no way to live Jaybird. How do you compromise with people who seem to exist in a perpetual adolescent miscreant mode?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
              Ignored
              says:

              How do you compromise with people who seem to exist in a perpetual adolescent miscreant mode?

              I would say that you don’t.

              If you were married to such a person, I’d suggest a divorce.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You keep on mentioning divorce without giving any information as to how it might work on a practical level. We don’t have a constitutional/legislative way to do it. How would we separate the states? Resources? Etc.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                I keep looking for compromises that might be possible and I can’t find anything. Even things that people are saying “All that happened was this very small thing! And they didn’t even want to do *THAT*!” isn’t understood as a potential compromise because it’s so very important to get people to do this thing that even its supporters agree is a very small thing.

                So without compromise and without divorce… what remains on the table?

                Upside: what appears to still be on the table seems to be something that could easily be described on a practical level.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. If one party’s operating principle is “the opposite of liberal, updated daily” then even if Democrats moved in their direction by offering compromises, the GOP would reject ’em and move their posts further to the right. Which is what we’re seeing from the “take no prisoners” approach to politics exhibited by the Trump WH and Mitch McConnell.

                Add: I’m not suggesting this is a complete analysis, of course…Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                What @stillwater said.

                To put it back to something connected to our recent flair-up, way back in 2016, Orrin Hatch was asked about the SC vacancy. He basically answered, “well, obviously we won’t vote for anybody too liberal, but if Obama put up a reasonable pick like Merrick Garland, that couldn’t be argued.”

                Well, Obama then nominated Merrick Garland and we know how that went.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                So we need to compromise with someone who refuses to be compromised with.

                Again, If you were married to such a person, I’d suggest a divorce.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s interesting that none of the liberals/Democrats on this board agree with your suggestion. 🙂

                If there’s a divorce it will come from the side which “refuses to be compromised with”. Just like last time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                We haven’t come up with a single suggestion of mine that they’d agree would have made for a decent compromise!

                If I paraphrase this as “we shouldn’t have done anything differently”, then would that be unfair?

                And here we are.

                There’s a great scene in No Country for Old Men where Chigurh asked “If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?”

                You shouldn’t have done anything differently and now we are here.

                Tomorrow we will be further down this road.

                I wonder if we will ever reach a point where, maybe, we wouldacouldashoulda done something, anything, differently.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “We compromised too much! We allowed them to get away with too much! We were too permissive!”

                I suppose that’s still on the table.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We haven’t come up with a single suggestion of mine that they’d agree would have made for a decent compromise!

                The ACA. The architecture of the ACA came from conservative think-tanks and was implemented by a Republican governor at the state level. The GOP moved the goalposts and attacked the Dems for being socialists.

                Oooorrrrrr, Obama’s hands-off policy in Syria. He told McConnell he’d send in troops if they voted an authorization for the use of force. McConnell moved the goal posts and used Obama’s inaction to pillory his presidency for being soft on terrorism.

                I think think there are lots of others. What I think you’re doing is focusing on issues like abortion and saying “show me the compromise there! Oh, you can’t? Divorce or War sonsabitches!”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Posted a comment that apparently was eaten. Basically, the ACA was a compromise. The architecture of the bill was developed by conservative think-tanks and it was implemented at the state level by a Republican governor. A bunch of GOP amendments were even included in the final bill! Once passed, the GOP moved the goalposts and accused the Dems of being socialists for implementing a conservative solution to healthcare issues.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I can’t come up with any potential compromises either.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “It takes two-oo-oooo babee-ee-ee. It takes two.”Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                In my armchair diagnosis this was a significant political failure of Obama. Many of his starting points of negotiation already contained compromise and things for both sides. This was problematic because the GOP base wanted bloody battles and victories to show. Had Obama started from the hard left there would have been plenty of victories to give the opposition. Plenty of compromise to go arround. For whatever reason he had to try to be above the fray and play the middle. Had he taken the role he needed to, instead of the one he wanted, a lot better policy would probably have been made. I think he would have ended up viewed much the same anyway. I have a hard time seeing how he could end up viewed any worse by the right or that the left would be of a different view because he compromised too much vs. gave it up in the beginning.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Dissolving the United States is not as simple as dissolving a marriage Jaybird and dissolving a marriage is rarely easy, even under the best of circumstances.

                This is just something you keep raising without delving into the specifics. Like we can dissolve the United States one day and have Red Country and Blue Country and everything is copacetic.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                I have suggested “Federalism For Real This Time” in the past but have been told that this is not on the table due to it being immoral.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, shockingly @jaybird, some of us don’t think it’s OK for people to have less legal access to reproductive choice or various anti-discrimination law because of a line on a map within a country.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                And so here we are.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And so here we are.

                Well, that seems a bit disingenuous unless *you* are comfortable with access to abortion services or plan B pills varying between states. How big a swing across state lines would you tolerate?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Compared to what?

                6 years of Trump followed by whatever follows him?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Compared to what?

                Compared to you’re *not* expressing an opinion about the issue. Jesse did. You criticized him for it. So I’m supposing you think choice *should* be a state level right which can vary wildly from state to state.

                If I’m right about that don’t say anything.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                My opinion is something like “quit heightening contradictions”.

                Whatever we’re hoping for, heightening the contradictions ain’t the way to get there.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                My opinion is something like “quit heightening contradictions”.

                You’re saying that to liberals and not Trumpists? Lol.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Do we have any of those?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As i recall:

                George and Dark have been strong supporters.

                Kristen voted for him though she has reservations.

                Pinky also i think.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                If we’re conflating “people who voted for Trump” with “Trumpists”, I think I might have found part of the problem.

                But, sure. Hey! George, Dark, Kristen, and Pinky! Quit heightening contradictions! You should agree with the congressional democrats and democratic presidential candidates more! It’s a moral issue!Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                That response was……so very much predictably you.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A trumpist, at this point, is anyone who votes for him in 2020. Or votes the “Trump agenda” in 2018. The premise of your argument is that unless liberal Dem voters and politicians take your advice Trump will get re-elected in 2020 and more Trump’s will get elected after that (and so on until liberals maybe finally learn the lesson you’re so gracioiusly trying to teach them tonight).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                A trumpist, at this point, is anyone who votes for him in 2020.

                I don’t think I agree with that.
                I’d have to see the Democratic nominee first.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You wanna to know how we get President-For-Life Commandante Ocasio-Cortez?

                This is how we get President-For-Life Commandante Ocasio-Cortez.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Careful what you wish for. (Though I’m pretty sure that she won’t be 35 in 2020. Maybe we could run with “the Constitution doesn’t mean *THAT*… if you understood what the Founding Fathers intended… This is like Eowyn in Lord of the Rings. It’s about how men have to be 35. AOC is no man!”)Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Ben Shapiro made an interesting comment on Bill Maher’s show. He said that he couldn’t vote for Trump last time because he didn’t believe he’d govern as a conservative, and he didn’t want to harm the institutions; but now he’s proven that he governs as a conservative, and the harm to the institutions is already done.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                That is an interesting argument.

                He’s certainly revealed a lot of various pathologies and hypocrisies. I’m not sure we’d be able to go back to the old way. Even if we impeached him and put Hillary Clinton in office tomorrow.

                (For example: the old campaign promise about putting the embassy in Jerusalem? That’s… gone now. Even if we put it back in Tel Aviv, nobody would ever again be able to make that promise. Not to applause, anyway.)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                the harm to the institutions is already done.

                That is an exceptionally moronic justification. There’s still _plenty_ of institutions that Trump could damage.

                He hasn’t, for example, damaged the military much yet. The post office still remains intact. The CIA seems mostly functional.

                Trump has left large sections of the government alone, mostly because he doesn’t care about them and possibly literally doesn’t know they exist. But at any moment, he could notice them and wander over and start petting them, crushing them in his giant clumsy hands.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                and the harm to the institutions is already done.

                That seems like a self-serving rationale to me, one based on cynicism, but also descriptively (or predictably, I guess?) inaccurate: Trump has only just begun to damage/destroy our public and governmental institutions. Unless he’s checked, it will get much much worse.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Or votes the “Trump agenda” in 2018.

                I don’t think you’re getting how Kavanaugh changed things. Trump’s not nearly so important for 2018 as he was just two or three weeks ago.

                In the post Kavanaugh world, the Trump-friendly Right and the anti-Trump Right are strongly motivated to go vote Republican in November, which really hadn’t been true until any point before now this cycle. Right this second, I wouldn’t give the D’s any better than 50% chance to take the House, 60-40 favorite tops.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m trying to think of a never-Trumper who supports Kavanaugh at this point. Kristol, Wittes, Tom Nichols, Rick Wilson, others, all think his nom should be pulled or that confirming him would be a disaster for the country and the GOP as well. Are never-Trumpers the same group as anti-Trump conservatives?Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The change in support isn’t really coming from ardent anti-Trumpers (even though there are a couple of more minor, but people who have heavy Twitter presences who were previously NT but radicalized by Kavanaugh), but more from people who went from criticizing Trump and such a lot (your National Review, Commentary, etc.’s of the world) to fully backing Kavanaugh and more importantly, being extremely angry about the situation.

                In short, the change isn’t really with the people who voted for Hillary or didn’t vote in 2016, but with the people who either voted for Gary Johnson because they live in DC or NY or whom voted for Trump with a lot of reservations in 2016.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m trying to think of a never-Trumper who supports Kavanaugh at this point. Kristol, Wittes, Tom Nichols, Rick Wilson, others, all think his nom should be pulled or that confirming him would be a disaster for the country and the GOP as well.

                That’s actually a very interesting point. Kavanaugh has applied a very useful sorting mechanism here. In the post-Kavanaugh world, the ones you mention (plus Frum and Jennifer Rubin) aren’t opposed to Trump or even left the Republican Party, they have left the Right as a whole.

                The anti-Trump Right, basically everybody associated with National Review, the Weekly Standard, a think tank, or any establishment media still identifiably on the Right is behind Kavanaugh, very strongly so in many cases.

                In fact, they’re the ones who are pushing the nomination forward and will end up getting him confirmed. Trump has been mostly an afterthought.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, Kristol, Nichols, Frum and Rubin are the wort kind of political hacks, folks who lied thru their teeth defending the policies and politics of one of the most dishonest and disastrous presidencies of my lifetime. That anyone continues to take anything they say seriously is mystifying and certainly their continued prominence is part of the crisis of faith in institutions which Trump has capitalized on. Kavanaugh is one of them, tho, in temperarment, judgment, dishonesty and Republican Party political hackery, so their rejection of him is at least a bit surprising.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, Kristol, Nichols, Frum and Rubin are the wort kind of political hacks, folks who lied thru their teeth defending the policies and politics of one of the most dishonest and disastrous presidencies of my lifetime. That anyone continues to take anything they say seriously is mystifying and certainly their continued prominence is part of the crisis of faith in institutions which Trump has capitalized on.

                Yeah, who couldn’t see that coming? They know they dislike Trump, but they really haven’t thought through anything else.

                Basically, the Left will tolerate them as long as their political activism consists of maneuvering to impeach Trump, and nothing else. A few on the Left will even applaud them for that, but not many.

                My beef with them is that they are small faction in our polity, with a larger presence in the opinion-making industry. And they refuse to accept the democratic accountability that governs (or at least ought to govern) any faction in a democracy. They somehow have elevated themselves as being above the crassness of electoral politics, which is bullshit. If they were to act as though they were governed by the legitimacy of democratic politics, I’d still disagree with them probably but I’d have a lot more respect for them than I do.Report

              • Avatar The Question in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Like the man said if you vote for the racist just for the tax cuts your still voting for the racist.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to The Question
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not sure that “racist” works anymore.

                You know that thing where you’re watching two people arguing about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza and the one guy brings up the treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and then calls the other one an anti-Semite?

                I think something similar has been happening with “racist”.

                (Which is not to say that racism doesn’t exist nor that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist. Of course it does and it ought to be fought against. But the use of it as a rhetorical tactic has blunted.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What makes you think it was ever a rhetorical tactic, as opposed to a truthful description?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                That just gets back to my observation that for guys like us, safely within the dominant culture, the big injustices of the day are experienced vicariously.

                We may see and be horrified by a police shooting, but it rarely is a case where we say “it coulda been me”.

                So its easy to view racism as something abstract and unreal, not really present in our lives and just a sort of rhetorical flourish that scores points with a debating judge or gives an edge in an upcoming election.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually i think the problem with federalism is that few people actually believe in it.

                Oh and depending on the issue, civil rights kind of stuff, it may actually be Wrong. So it sort of depends on the issue whether morality comes into it. But most people are fair weather federalists at best on tough issues.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Besides what Jesse said, it is also unworkable.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird

                I have suggested “Federalism For Real This Time” in the past but have been told that this is not on the table due to it being immoral.

                The division of America is not along bizarre geographical lines, or this or that side of rivers. It’s between rural, exurbs, suburbs, and cities. Federalism that end at the state border might be what was written in the Constitution, but it’s inapplicable today, when mass communication and economic integration make distances and geographical obstacles go away, and only culture and economics remain.

                The only Federalism that would work would be a Federalism not of states, but of counties, or metropolitan areas, or similar divisions, all significantly smaller than states. But the same people that want the Federal Government to get away from X are the ones that want to make sure to impose X within the state, no matter how much half of the state hates X.

                Só, the Texas government walks over Texas cities just the same as the California government tyrannizes Orange County or the CA northern counties.

                Divorce is the same issue. Should the South plus Texas secede, do you see Atlanta, Miami, Raleigh, Charlotte, Houston, New Orleans, etc. happily accepting a political program written by McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz? I would bet you would more easily have a civil war within the South plus Texas, that between Red and Blue statesReport

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                Orange Coutny has been trending blue for a while now and the GOP is more or less a rump party in CA but great point.*

                *It has been pointed out that if you were to break CA up into three states, chances are they would all be Democratic.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                There is some difference between regions – a California Democrat is different from an Wyoming Democrat – although that’s likely to diminish over time. But don’t discount the sorting that would take place if states actually had greater say. If you drew a line down the map and said that the laws would actually be allowed to be different, you’d find that people would sort themselves naturally.

                There are two complicating factors, though. One, we don’t actually want the world we claim we do, because we don’t recognize the benefits of the other side’s positions. Two, let’s be honest, liberal governance makes places worse, leading to liberals moving out in favor of better-run areas, where they then vote for the bad policies that bring down the next area.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                …unchecked liberal governance makes places worse…

                When you have a place with an effective ‘loyal opposition’, it’s actually quite nice. It’s when the conservative voice is effectively silenced (through design, or because the conservative voice lost it’s damn mind), then the more unsustainable liberal tendencies can come to the fore.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Heck, I’d guess that there are significant differences between Washington Democrats and Massachusetts Democrats, despite both being from states of about the same size, not too much different in terms of percent non-rural population. I’m inclined to believe that those differences will increase over time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                The argument that it’s not feasible is one that makes sense to me.

                The big problem is that we need to have a cultural assumption of jurisdiction and the idea that something that is not in one’s jurisdiction can be immoral and yet still not be in one’s jurisdiction.

                “Are you saying that you’d be okay with someone else being immoral?”

                “That is exactly what I am saying.”

                “Even if they are harming themselves?”

                “Even if they are harming themselves.”

                “Even if they are harming others?”

                And that’s where it breaks down, doesn’t it?

                That’s why we had an obligation to overthrow Saddam.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The side that refuses to compromise doesn’t want a divorce either because they want to dominate the people that they disagree with. They need liberals so they can own it to them. They might loathe minorities but they want them around to exploit and persecute.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                There is also a difference (although thanks to FB and Twitter, I find it hard to sort it out from the noise) between the antics of GOP politicians, and what conservative people actually care about.

                Some of it truly aligns, but most of it is (IMHO) tribal signalling.

                These days, I wish I could reliably tell the difference.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                “what conservative people actually care about.”

                90% of self described conservatives approve of Trump, though. Like, do I believe there are a small cadre of conservatives who disapprove of Trump and wish Marco Rubio or Mike Lee was in office, passing a working class tax credit and quasi-parental leave?

                Sure!

                But, those are a very small number of conservatives and they’re overrepresented among people in think tanks and such.

                At a certain point, if conservatives continue to vote for Trump-ist (or one would could argue, Trump is just the latest spawn of Newt or going back even further, Spiro Agnew/George Wallace), say they approve of the job the Trumpists are doing, etc., you have to believe this is what the vast majority of conservatives want, even if the conservative guy you go fishing with disagrees.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                you have to believe this is what the vast majority of conservatives want

                I believe they want something that politician has promised, maybe even more than one thing. I also believe a lot of them would prefer to have better politicians representing their interests, enough such that if we actually had a viable third party that was even remotely competent* and even slightly better aligned, the GOP would collapse into a fringe party.

                *I would love that party to be the Libertarian Party, but I said ‘competent’, didn’t I? sigh…

                ETA: As per Stillwater’s comment below, I think the Dems get better mapping because Dem voters are more willing to take a risk on a political outsider than a conservative is.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Except there aren’t that many actual libertarians, @oscar gordon.

                https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publications/2016-elections/political-divisions-in-2016-and-beyond

                An actual three party system in America would be a party that’s left wing on economic and social issues, a party that’s left wing on economic issues (for white people) and right wing on social issues, and a party that’s right wing on economic and social issues.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                If there were more actual libertarians, we might have enough to form a competent party!

                But no, everyone just picks and chooses from the ideology what they want and ignores the rest.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Truly the Applebee’s salad bar is best metaphor for america.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                You guys need a union, with mandatory dues and bylaws governing how to behave. Maybe an anthem, where everyone stands and salutes or something.

                via GIPHYReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Totally agree. I’ve mentioned before (perhaps incorrect, of course) that liberal voters desires and Democratic CCers/President actions pretty closely map onto each other, whereas conservative voters desires are, or at least have been, almost completely divorced from the actions of GOPers in Congress and Presidency. Trump, obvs, recognized the disconnect and promised to deliver on the issues which conservatives actually (according to polling) cared about, but prior to his candidacy conservatism at the national level pretty much *had* been reduced to pure signaling.* (Cleek’s Law isn’t just a good idea, after all…)

                On the other hand, beneath all the signaling behavior pandering to the voting base, during the Obama admin. McConnell and other GOP big wigs had already focused their attention away from grandiose policy positions (other than “tax cuts” and “Obama sucks!”) and onto the courts. And that decision is paying off in droves, both in terms of seated judges of course but at the voting booth as well. That winning formula is playing out in this election cycle as well. The GOP isn’t campaigning on any of their legislative successes (since they don’t have any) but *are* campaigning on how badly Dems suck and on judges. And, well, Trump too, I guess. “If we don’t keep the House we’ll lose all of *this* ” (said while pointing vaguely into Trumpian space). 🙂

                *Bolstered, of course, by the widely promulgated view bordering now on conventional conservative wisdom that Dems are the political arm of a globalist cabal of Jews and other monied interests intent on imposing communist sharia on the American people.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe you should stop bugging liberals for things we should want to give up and start suggesting and offering things that you believe conservatives will accept giving up?

                Or maybe you can keep arguing that because Trump won, we have to just make endless concessions.

                But when you argue both, well, whatever your motives are, it comes off like bad faith trolling.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                Or maybe you can keep arguing that because Trump won, we have to just make endless concessions.

                It’s not just that because Trump won that you have to make endless concessions.

                I really only want you to make one:

                “If we have lost 1000 seats over the last four elections, maybe it’s because of something we were doing that we shouldn’t have or because of something that we weren’t doing that we should have and it’s important that we figure out what those things are.”

                Here’s a link to something I wrote back when Republicans were accusing me of concern trolling them. It was back in 2009.

                I think that it very, very much applies to the democrats right now.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s one possible answer:

                We were too nice and conciliatory to the Republicans and the Right in general.

                While “Hope and Change” and later “Love Trumps Hate” were largely marketing guff, we believed them just enough to pull various punches, rhetorical, procedural, and even substantive in ways that rewarded the Right for being uncompromising (to put it very gently) while undermining the faith and enthusiasm of our own activist base and core constituencies.

                So next time we need to be meaner to them.

                And all this insistence that we compromise with people who are so interested in compromise that they’re punishing parents by kidnapping their children is profoundly counter-productive. The Republicans didn’t win in 2010, 2014, and 2016 by compromising more.

                Is that the kind of concession you were thinking of?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that “we were too trusting” is, at least, a step in the right direction insofar as it is a step away from “we didn’t do anything incorrectly”.

                It might even be correct!Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird, I’ll be personally honest. The whole 1,000 seats things makes you look really silly, especially with a historical context. Basically every two term President except for Reagan has left their party with a major loss in total seats at the national level in recent history. Eisenhower, JFK/LBJ, Nixon, Bill Clinton, Dubya.

                If you want me to put the actual percentages down, I will.

                Judging by the historical record of people flipping back toward the opposition party, the vast majority of those losses were going to happen anyway. Some because they were seats held by Democrats in very Republican areas that won them in a fluke the first time around and others because they’re in swing-y areas

                For the rest, it’s a combination of the economy not recovering quick enough, a shift in the South finally wiping out moderate Southern Democrats for some reason, and some bad political decisions by the Democrats.

                But even if the Democrat’s did everything perfectly, they still likely would’ve ended up losing hundreds of seats, and likely the House in 2014, if not in 2010, because that’s what happens to parties in the modern American political system when you look at them from their strongest and weakest point.

                For instance, if you compare the same numbers in 2004 and 2012, they look far less terrible, despite the actual political choices made by the Democrats being not that different than 2008 and 2016.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll be personally honest. The whole 1,000 seats things makes you look really silly, especially with a historical context.

                My two cents: I think the 1000 lost seats thing is actually *very* important, but I disagree with Jaybird about its significance. To me, the 1000 seats lost/won is indicative of the GOP playing long ball at the local level, a political strategy which began more than a decade ago (I’ll see if I can find a linky about it) with the objective of getting conservatives in any and all positions of governmental power from PTAs to city councils to state reps and on up the power chain, with the goal of accomplishing exactly what resulted from it: seating conservatives in elected positions.

                While all this was happening – in plain sight – the Dems persisted in a top-down strategy of ignoring candidates in “red” districts, not funding candidates with views too-far outside the box, ignoring the political impact of grass roots politics percolating *up* to higher positions of power, and so on. Obama, infamously at this point, intentionally ignored the already dysfunctional efforts of the DNC/CC to seat candidates during his time in the WH. (Compare that to Trump, who hasn’t stopped campaigning even while witting in the Oval.)

                Jaybird talks about reintroducing the 50 state strategy, which I agree with. He also talks about liberals compromising with conservatives to gain electoral support, which I think is a mistake since if the Dems, as an institution, *had* engaged in the same strategy which the GOP (as an institution) has and is still currently doing they wouldn’t have lost 1000 seats over the last decade.

                Of course, one might wonder whether national level Democratic Party institutions *could* have engaged in that type concerted grass-rootsy political activity (I’m inclined to think they couldn’t). Which reveals a difference in how the two parties think about electoral politics and governance: conservatives placed an emphasis on seating people with Rs after their name regardless of ideological litmus tests in order to increase they’re power in government; Dems – seemingly – couldn’t care less about whether a local school board or city council has *anyone* with a D after their name.

                So (to wrap it up) dysfunction within the Democratic party has significantly contributed to the weakness of the party at the national level right now. When combined with the complete lack of response to aggressive conservative attacks on the character and ideology of Democratic candidates, Dems are losing at the level or retail politics and political institutional infrastracture as well.

                Compromising with conservatives isn’t going to correct those types of problems. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, @stillwater, I’d agree the DNC and to a greater extent, Obama’s DFA made a lot of terrible decisions on the grassroots and in larger politics, but unless they magically found a way to stop unemployment from still being at 8% in 2010, the DNC was going to lose big regardless.

                Also, yes, as Lee & Saul have pointed out, Democrats are terrible at caring about things below the President (including the gorram damn Supreme Court), but I think recent things are changing that fact, hopefully permanently.

                My pushback is against the idea that if we were nicer to certain voters, they wouldn’t have abandoned us and left us with these losses in seats.

                OTOH, this isn’t an overnight thing. It took the Right 16 years from Goldwater’s crushing loss to Reagan winning.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                My pushback is against the idea that if we were nicer to certain voters, they wouldn’t have abandoned us and left us with these losses in seats.

                Yes, that’s absurd. It’s like arguing that Trump won because a handful of otherwise reasonable, clear-eyed conservatives are super scared of college professors.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                Basically every two term President except for Reagan has left their party with a major loss in total seats at the national level in recent history. Eisenhower, JFK/LBJ, Nixon, Bill Clinton, Dubya.

                When I talk about 1000 seats, I’m not talking about major losses in total seats at the national level.

                I’m talking about total seats at the state level.

                The argument that the Democrats only had these seats as a fluke (rather than as the result of a deliberate attempt to win them) strikes me as insane.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “I’m talking about total seats at the state level.”

                I’m also talking about total seats at the state level.

                https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2015/01/Screen-Shot-2015-01-13-at-5.23.29-PM.png&w=1484

                https://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/maloneenten-obamalegacy-4-new.png?w=1024

                Clinton lost 524 seats, Nixon & Ford lost 800, JFK & LBJ lost 473 despite the South being a one party state, Ike lost 843.

                I’m not saying the Democrats didn’t do terribly at the state legislative level. I’m saying many of the losses were baked in the cake.

                “The argument that the Democrats only had these seats as a fluke (rather than as the result of a deliberate attempt to win them) strikes me as insane.”

                By flukes, I mean seats won not because of quality of candidates or trying to win, but the overall national mood. Just like there are plenty of Republican’s currently in office because people were upset Obama didn’t fix things, there were plenty of Democrat’s in office in 2006 and 2008 because people were upset Bush didn’t fix things.

                For instance – yes, Heath Shuler was trying to win his Congressional seat. But, in any other year but 2006, he would’ve lost, even with the same exact campaign. Now, once in office, he was able to hang on longer than others because of his political skills, but his initial win wouldn’t have happened without outside forces.

                That’s what I mean by fluke wins that go away with reversion to the mean.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
                Ignored
                says:

                So what I am seeing is that Obama has the worst numbers on both of those lists and the only presidents in the same ballpark are Eisenhower and Nixon.

                I am arguing that if the Democrats hadn’t effed up, Obama could have held his losses to, oh, Bushian levels. Maybe even Clintonian.

                “Hey, the worst numbers in the modern era (that is, since Eisenhower) were, technically, Obama’s… but that doesn’t mean anything because other things happened to a far lesser extent to other presidents” is a less compelling argument for me than it seems to be for you.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think its useful to note that after every major advance in civil rights, there has been a backlash.
                After the Civil War, Jim Crow;
                After the Civil Rights Act, Nixon;
                After Obama, Trump.

                And what makes compromise impossible, is that the conservatives can’t actually articulate what it is they want, even here with a friendly audience.

                Conservatism is a mood of fear, and you can’t negotiate with a mood.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Permit me to go to a dark place.

                Is any of this worthwhile? I’ve tried to talk about compromises on this thread and gotten nowhere. But if I did, so what? Does it prove anything if four other people on a message board can come to an agreement? I understand the value of demonstrating the ability to compromise, but this is a small group of people we’d be demonstrating it to. Another impulse that may be driving this demonstration is vindication, proving that we’re able to compromise better than the supposed leaders. I can think of one real-world benefit, and that’s the development of positions that we can carry out beyond OT. But is that going to happen? And are there some benefits I’m overlooking?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’ve mentioned my petri dish theory.

                There was also the Trump election where I spent months gaming things out in my head only to have what actually happened have *NOTHING* to do with what I gamed out in my head.

                I see that as a problem and one of my personal goals is to figure out a map that is accurate enough to game things out and have what happens in the real world be in the ballpark of my predictions.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, “petri dish theory”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                We’re a tiny petri dish that represents “elite” liberal thought in the real world. An idea that does well here will do well in the real world (or the elite corners, anyway). An idea that dies within moments will die in the real world (or the elite corners, anyway).Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw
              Ignored
              says:

              Your mode of compromise seems to be nothing but capitulation for whatever reason. That is no way to live Jaybird. How do you compromise with people who seem to exist in a perpetual adolescent miscreant mode?

              Despite our multitude of political disagreements – have I ever asked you to compromise with them? If not, why is that?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Is there a point at which you might be willing to say “huh… this isn’t working”?

        I think a lot of people are wondering about that. The weird thing is that on lots of important issues even a majority of *conservatives* support policies which fall broadly under the liberal/Dem policy umbrella. Yet, #everyonestillhatesDems. I’ve suggested that the problem with Dems/liberals from a governance perspective isn’t so much the end goal of the policies but an over-reliance on national-level, top-down implementation out of DC. People bristle at that.

        On the cultural side I think almost all of us agree the national-level Dems sorta suck right now, and I think that perception drives more of our current politics than substantive differences in policies. How to change that, tho? Can’t be done in the short term.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          I’ve suggested that the problem with Dems/liberals from a governance perspective isn’t so much the end goal of the policies but an over-reliance on national-level, top-down implementation out of DC. People bristle at that.

          I agree.

          I think that the whole bundling thing is a problem as well. It’s not enough to agree with 80%. You have to agree with 100%. And if you don’t, you may as well be someone who doesn’t agree on anything at all.

          How to change that, tho?

          If losing elections isn’t enough, I don’t know what would be.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Th majority of votes being D but R’s gaining seats is not it.Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        If in 2021, Donald Trump has just won reelection while actually winning more votes than the Democratic candidate, the Republican’s hold the House via actually winning more votes than they did the Democrat’s, and the Republican’s hold the Senate while actually holding seats in states that compromise more than 50% of the nation’s population.

        If all that is true, we have a problem on our side. But, if in 2021, Trump is reelected after winning 45% of the vote again, while the Democratic candidate wins 48%, the GOP holds the House even though the Democrat’s won more votes, and the GOP holds a Senate majority thanks to a bunch of states with less people in them than in the metro area I live in, then I’ll continue to happily argue the Republican’s continue to hold power through undemocratic means.Report

        • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          @jesse This is a great description of the fundamental, underlying problem. Of course, what is transparently unbalanced about this arrangement is something that one side not only refuses to acknowledge but seeks to set in concrete.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          FWIW, I think the House GOP candidates did win more votes than House Democratic candidates in 2016. This isn’t always the case though.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            According to Wikipedia, the totals were 63,173,815 (R) and 61,776,554 (D).Report

            • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Michael Cain
              Ignored
              says:

              When I voted in 2012 the only Democrats that even appeared on my ballot were Obama/Biden. The entire rest of the slate, from U.S. House down to dogcatcher were unopposed Republicans aside from one Libertarian (who got my vote — and lost of course). I don’t know how common that sort of situation is or how it breaks down vis-a-vis R vs D, but it does mean that we have to take these kind of numbers with a grain of salt. Approval polling is probably a more reliable indicator.Report

          • Avatar Jesse in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            Sure, I’m not disputing that part. I’m simply including it as part of the deal. We can have arguments about whether or not the GOP majority should be the size it is, etc., but yes, when it comes to the House, the GOP won a “true” majority.

            So, the Democrats did respond to that – by recruiting more and better candidates to run.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          We should have another prediction thread. The mid-terms are 35 days away, after all.

          If there’s a blue wave, that means something.
          If there’s a purple wave (a lotta churn but mostly status quo numbers-wise), that means something.
          (We know that there won’t be some small red gains made so that’s not even worth discussing.)

          And what a blue vs. purple wave would mean.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          So now we don’t even know if we have a problem until 2020?Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Jaybird,

        Is there a point at which you might be willing to say “huh… this isn’t working”?

        Even if they don’t know it…the answer is yes.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dave
          Ignored
          says:

          I’d have thought that Trump would have been that point.

          Instead we seem to be accelerating.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Institutional inertia. It doesn’t change overnight. Eg., Trump’s election goes back ten years to the beginnings of the Tea Party and Palinism.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              What would we have said about Obama’s victory in 2008, though? Was that a victory a decade (or more) in the making?

              It might be a pendulum. If it’s a pendulum… well, it should start swinging back soon. (Four elections, 1000 seats, etc.)Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            That’s because most people on the left think Trump wasn’t an indication of the problems of the _left_. Well, maybe two _voting_ problems on the left: A bad presidential campaign (Which…is only really relevant to the next one.) and voter apathy, which Trump is…very nicely solving the problem of.

            You seem to think Trump is instead an indication of problems in the _policy positions_ on the left. That the Democrats could pick better policies and do better.

            So that question of yours works both ways:

            If the Democrats do badly, at what level will they admit the problem is their policies? And which policies? Will they double-down on the unpopular half-conservativism they like to do, or will they realize they actually were beaten by white nationalism and economic populism and realize that maybe they could be a bit economically populist also? (hopefully that’s the one they pick!)

            But if the Democrats do _well_, will the Republicans admit they have a serious problem? And what will _they_ think it is?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, I’ll look at these numbers again. Between the four elections taking place in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, Republicans picked up 1000 seats across all 50 states. (If you want a citation, here’s Politifact.)(Now, this isn’t merely Federal Representation. This includes State Houses and State Senates.)

              That’s an average of 250 seats per election. Divided among the fifty states, that’s 5 seats per state per election for 4 elections straight.

              I have no idea if the Republicans changed anything between 2006 and 2008. None whatsoever. If they didn’t change anything, this is just a pendulum swinging and surely the pendulum will swing back.

              That’s a pretty comforting thought, though. Hey, they didn’t change anything. They just got lucky.

              If they *DID* change something… what did they change? Can the Democrats change in response? If they can, should they?

              Is the only thing that happened was the Republicans capitalizing on mistakes that the Democrats made? If so, should the Democrats stop making these mistakes?

              1000 seats is a *LOT*. That’s, seriously, really impressive. (And while gerrymandering might explain the first couple of elections following the redistricting, I don’t think it comes close to explaining 2016’s gains.)

              The question is, I suppose, how did the Republicans make those gains? (I’d be willing to say that, oh, 20% of it was regression to the mean and another 20% was gerrymandering but that still leaves 600 seats. That’s pretty impressive.)

              Did the Republicans do that by changing?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                To their credit, Republican voters care more about state and local politics than Democratic voters on an average. They also tend to be from demographics that go out and vote a lot more. Part of this is because gerrymandering/voter suppression and part because many liberals have a too cool for school attitude when it comes to voting, especially in non-sexy races for non-sexy positions.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Lee, the Democrats had these seats to lose in the first place.

                There was a point in time when they were able to win them.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, just wanted to point out that the Census information wasn’t released until 12/21/10 for redistricting in 2011 and 2012. This means there was no special gerrymandering going on in the 2010 election. Also, in 2012 there was no real movement in either the house or Senate and the D’s kept the presidency. So, no evidence of gerrymandering there, at least of the national level. In 2014 R’s picked up the Senate, as we all know, but I would have to see some solid info showing that gerrymandering actually helped in this, in light of it not doing anything two years before.

                I think it is more of a talking point at this time than anything else.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, just wanted to point out that the Census information wasn’t released until 12/21/10 for redistricting in 2011 and 2012. This means there was no special gerrymandering going on in the 2010 election

                As I just pointed out to Jaybird, 2010 was after two back-to-back blue wave elections (2006 and 2008). Plain reversion to the mean would have lost Democrats hundreds of seats.

                The usual Democratic voter turnout and mid-term election routine (Democrats don’t turn out at mid-terms unless they’re angry about something, and the President’s party tends to lose seats in the midterms — especially if the economy is crappy, which 2010 certainly fit) also adds in.

                Gerrymandering just locked in those gains.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                I am 100% certain that gerrymandering had nothing to with Senate in 2014.

                The House is another story, of course.

                Where it really matters, though, is at the state level.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                1000 seats is a *LOT*. That’s, seriously, really impressive. (And while gerrymandering might explain the first couple of elections following the redistricting, I don’t think it comes close to explaining 2016’s gains.)

                You say this a lot, and it never stops being idiotic.

                I mean forget gerrymandering, when does that 1000 seat loss start in your head? 2010. That would be after two consecutive blue wave elections (2006 and 2008).

                You literally picked the highest water mark year in decades, decided that was a good yardstick instead of an aberration.

                Hell, if you decided to use 2000 to 2008 instead, you’d be moaning about how many seats Republicans lost and how dire their straights were — right before they had their own wave election.

                Your whole argument is basically a guy on a beach, screaming “The waves are two feet higher than they were hours ago! A hurricane is coming. Maybe it is, but you should first learn about the tides since your initial measurement was at low tide.

                Seriously, man, you literally have two shticks you think are damning points: 1000 SEATS! and DIVORCE OR WAR.

                It’s old, and they’re both bullshit.Report

  12. Avatar Sam Wilkinson
    Ignored
    says:

    The side that has done all of the “compromising” here – the one referenced in the original piece – has repeatedly been forced to do so, either by cultural shifts or by courts, and has responded not by acknowledging that their own prognostications about what compromise might mean were, in fact, wrong, but has instead simply doubled down on that original hostility while continuing to seek a bifurcated cultural and political existence, one for themselves and one for everybody else. That does not fit any definition of compromise that I am familiar with.

    Meanwhile, perhaps it is fair to argue that the other side has not compromised either; they have demanded an equality that is an all or nothing sort of thing, but what compromise is possible when considering the concept of equality? How can somebody be a quarter or a third or a half equal? Equality is an all or nothing thing. Those opposed to it – the ones being credited for their alleged “compromise” above – remain opposed to it. There is no reason to pretend otherwise just because those angling for inequality would prefer that it be pretended away.

    Above, the Golden Rule is referenced. The side being criticized above, the one that has allegedly not compromised nor acknowledged the fundamental humanity of their entrenched opponents, would likely happily accept the Golden Rule. But we know who would reject it; the group that demands treatment for themselves that they are unwilling to extend to others. What is to be done about that? What is to be made of that? What is the point at which we agree upon humanity?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Sam Wilkinson
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, I like how the advances of the past 50 years are framed as a gracious compromise:

      Women are now able to purchase contraception legally, even without their husband or fathers permission.

      Black people are allowed to vote, even walk down the street openly, after sundown.

      Gay people are allowed to hold hands, even marry.

      How gracious, how compliant and tolerant of the dominant white male straight society!

      The fundamental dignity and human rights of others are treated as negotiable chips, privileges really, which require some quid prop quo.Report

  13. Avatar Pat
    Ignored
    says:

    All in all I think this is a great piece except you gloss over the problem right after identifying the solution.

    The problem isn’t that we argue. The problem is that we don’t admit we could be wrong. You won’t either, it’s right there in the middle of your piece:

    “I also happen to believe that the other side of our Odd Couple has given up nothing and demands additional, ever-more extreme concessions with every passing day. They admit no blame, accept no guilt, show no remorse, preferring instead to play with Civil War Brand matches in a house made of gasoline-soaked straw.”

    Felix and Oscar both actually believed that they were the bigger paet of the problem and it took the *other guy* arguing against that for them to come to a peace consensus.

    You don’t believe that.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Pat
      Ignored
      says:

      Do you really think that both Felix and Oscar really thought they were the bigger part of the problem? Because I don’t. They were trying to make peace. I’ve been in a lot of arguments with a lot of people and when it’s coming down to the end of the argument I will agree “yes, you’ve made lots of good points” but that doesn’t ever mean that I think I was fully or even mostly in the wrong. It’s possible to both admit one’s culpability and yet still think and hope that the person you’re dealing with will see that they’re doing some really serious things that is harming the overall relationship.

      And I think it’s only honest to admit that. If I hadn’t at least mentioned my point of view – which most around here already know -then I’d have been called out on that. Then it really would have been a wishy-washy, pointless piece in which I take on a sanctimonious position of peacemaker that I don’t deserve.

      We are at that moment where we have got to realize “hey, I’m not going to change, and you’re not going to change, now what do we do about that?”Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Kristin Devine
        Ignored
        says:

        Do you really think that both Felix and Oscar really thought they were the bigger part of the problem? Because I don’t. They were trying to make peace.

        I disagree; I think they were both painfully aware they were flawed (I agree with Jaybird’s comment up above that it’s relevant they’re both recently divorced). Sometimes it took 3/4 of the episode for them to come to that realization but that’s where they typically ended up, if I remember the series correctly (which I may not, you just watched it not me) 🙂

        “I’ve been in a lot of arguments with a lot of people and when it’s coming down to the end of the argument I will agree “yes, you’ve made lots of good points” but that doesn’t ever mean that I think I was fully or even mostly in the wrong.”

        Eeeeehhhhhh…. maybe? I think this depends upon the fundamental nature of the argument (which are, usually, really bad in practice because people typically don’t argue from common principles, they’re just tossing framework arguments around and then being shocked when the person they’re engaging with doesn’t accept one of their premises)

        “It’s possible to both admit one’s culpability and yet still think and hope that the person you’re dealing with will see that they’re doing some really serious things that is harming the overall relationship.”

        Sure. Are they doing that entirely on their own or are they doing that because we (and I’ll cop to the we, here) are also creating circumstances where their pretty obvious course of action is to burn stuff down?

        I mean.

        If we’re not treating potential defection as in-and-of-itself a bad thing, then we have to expect people to defect. And since we’re setting defection up as not only acceptable but rewarded, it becomes itself a self-reinforcing norm. Why bother to treat the other side with respect when they’ll never leave that dog alone and that sort of thing.

        “We are at that moment where we have got to realize “hey, I’m not going to change, and you’re not going to change, now what do we do about that?”

        In the long run, we all change. We kid ourselves that we won’t, but we do. And the next generation changes too.

        I suspect that the real answer here isn’t “we’ll come to blows in an insurrection sort of way”. The current break is nothing like the civil rights era of the 60s, the antiwar sentiment of the early 70s, jim crow, anything like that. It’s basically the Red Scare Light. Not that the Red Scare wasn’t hot garbage, and not that bad things (possibly even violence) are near on the horizon.

        So what will happen is a bunch of us will die off and the kids these days will decide who won. Like the last few times.Report

  14. Avatar Bill D
    Ignored
    says:

    “We HAVE to live together. No choice. No option.”

    Why do we have to? Because our founding fathers decided? Meh. I’d rather see the Union split up and let states do their own thing. The federal government is just becoming a tool of oppression for whichever side holds power. The legislation filibuster isn’t far from being dismantled, once it’s gone we’ll just whipsaw from one extreme to the other at the whims of the electorate. The American experiment is failing. Let it fail.

    Either that or just have the war already. I’m ok with that option. We deserve everything we get.Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Bill D
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      says:

      Most countries don’t have a filibuster, but they also don’t whipsaw, because as it turns out, when people actually know who voted for things, they can react better when than when they have to figure out arcane parliamentary procedures.Report

    • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Bill D
      Ignored
      says:

      Bill D: Either that or just have the war already. I’m ok with that option. We deserve everything we get.

      I am more and more convinced that is where we are going. A common idea in customer service is that it takes 10 good interactions to overcome the damage of 1 one bad one. A similar ratio probably exists for interactions with groups of “other people”. I think we are past critical mass where the bad interactions swamp good ones. The lack of trust, lack of fair dealing, and eventually violence will continue to grow. If history is any guide and it means there are really only 2 general outcomes. The rare case of both sides simultaneously deciding that making peace is easier than continuing war OR capitulation/annihilation of one side. From my discussions with folks, I find nearly no one is near these end points. So it will get worse until the pain and loss motivates large enough majorities to change their views.

      It is sad that it likely will take real blood spilled and real cities on fire. It did in the 60’s.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Bill D
      Ignored
      says:

      I fully agree with your premise here, it’s just that the breaking up is going to be brutal.

      I just feel the need to advocate for the “hold your nose and deal with it” option. It’s like staying together for the sake of the children, because the other option is going to be way worse for everyone.Report

      • Avatar Bill D. in reply to Kristin Devine
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m sympathetic to the hold your nose and deal with it option despite my ultra-cynical comment.

        I think we’re reaching a point where we’re finding the limits of our form of government. Rules are being broken, rules that I can only assume were put in place due to vagueness in the constitution, gentleman’s agreements over the years. A “this seems fair, lets do it this way” kind of thing. Like having 60 votes for a supreme court judge, or considering a presidents pick for the Supreme Court. We’re rushing to dismantle the progress we’ve made since the constitution’s inception, all the plaster that’s been spackled on being taken off.

        I mean, there’s nothing in the constitution that says there have to be only 9 Supreme Court justices. I hope like hell the Dems pack it the next chance they get with some ultra liberal Harvard Law grads fresh out of school in their early 30’s. Start exposing the Supreme Court for the joke it is, another political arm rather than an arm of actual justice. Why continue the charade?

        Frankly, I think it should all burn as quickly as possible, because then something better can (hopefully) be built, because *this* is the result of what the founding fathers gave us, and I am not impressed. It’s not any better than what i see in Europe, and China is outgaming us. Granted this process will be painful, but when you stay together just for the kids you just end up hating each other more. Sometimes things are so broken they can’t be fixed. I think we’re there.

        Let the Union split up and all the conservatives can go live in their white utopian states where single women can be chattel forced to bring babies to term, even if they can’t afford them and there’s no existing welfare (it’s their own fault for having sex out of wedlock anyway, right?) to help them so maybe the kid grows up in poverty or maybe starves. But hey, principles right?Report

  15. Avatar gabriel conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    I wanted to say this before I read any of the other comments: Excellent post!

    This is particularly good, but challenging:

    Things are not gonna improve and will most probably continue to get worse until at least some people…lay down their arms and say TO THE JERKS ON THEIR OWN SIDE “stop what you’re doing, this isn’t constructive, and what’s more, it’s wrong.” Not the jerks on the other side, the jerks on your OWN side, because waiting around to change until the other guy changes first is a recipe for no one ever changing.

    The hard part, for me, is twofold:

    1. Sometimes I think I am talking to the jerks on my own side, but I’m sometimes also one of the jerks.

    2. Additionally and speaking probably only for myself, it’s hard for me to know if I’m still on the side of the jerks I’m chastising or if I’m on the other side, which has its own jerks I should be chastising. (I hope that’s clear.)

    Again, though, excellent post. Thanks for writing this.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to gabriel conroy
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      says:

      I’ve been trying to figure out what to say to the OP. Your comment frames that for me. We should speak to the jerks on our own side. The problem is, given this internet thing, there are always jerks out there. No matter how reasonable we are or the jerks on our side we speak at we aren’t shutting up the maroons on our aisle.

      What some people do is find the nuts on the other side to amplify and scream about suggesting the worst nuts exemplify all of the other side. This is bad. Even trickier though is discerning who does exemplify the other side or who is significant enough to care about. Going off on anon’s flapping their pixels in comments sections doesn’t really show what the groups are like all that well. Politicians, very popular media figures or publications, or networks….well maybe there we are getting to something that is useful for describing other groups.Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Right, like I don’t think say, Lindsay Graham or Marco Rubio is responsible for MAGAForever69 on Twitter saying dumb BS. However, I think they are partly responsible for say, a pretty much open white nationalist being in Congress and getting absolutely zero push back. They are partly responsible for not pushing back on the alt-right makeover that is the prime time FOX News lineup, etc.

        The actual problem is the reality is that In The Year of Our Lord, 2018, the Right is worse than the Left. At pretty much all levels. Simply pointing out that fact makes certain “reasonable” conservatives very upset, even as they retweet terrible people, who aren’t quite as terrible as the truly terrible people.

        I mean, you can like or hate ChapoTrapHouse, but they aren’t going to nominate the 2020 DNC nominee – black women in the South are.Report

      • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        True that.

        I also worry that maybe I’m not on the “side” (for lack of a better word) that I think I’m on. I DON’T mean “I think I’m on the side of the angels but it turns out I’m on the side of the demons.” Instead, I mean something more like, “I think I’m on a liberal but maybe I’m a conservative” or “I think I oppose Trump but maybe I support him.” It’s partially me thinking, for example, that I’m still a liberal but find myself becoming more and more a conservative (for whatever meanings we assign to “conservative”) without knowing it or admitting it to myself. But it’s also partially me thinking that I’m temperamentally disposed to a side I claim not to be on. It’s kind of like the “flippism” Jaybird talked about a long time ago.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to gabriel conroy
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          says:

          Well one thing people miss is the difference between temperament and policy ideals. Lots of liberals are conservative temperamentally in their choices and beliefs about how to move through the world. There is no essential temperament to other party i think. Or at least not above vague, often incorrect generalizations.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Even trickier though is discerning who does exemplify the other side or who is significant enough to care about.

        More than that, I think the real problem is feeling the need to find these exemplars in the first place. There’s rarely any reason for it outside of team-oriented thinking — ideas and arguments can be debated without insisting that (or even thinking about whether) any of them are representative of “conservatives” or “liberals” as a whole.Report

      • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, you’re right and I really do find that the “conservatives” online are not at all representative of the ones I know IRL – who are totally good people who are just trying to navigate the world and live their lives, and have little interest and motivation in expressing their opinions online. That leaves the trolls and troglodytes and skews the opinions of the good people on the other side and I understand that.

        But as I’m reading the comments here I realize the opposite is also true. It’s a pitfall to excuse what the leaders of your movement are doing because they don’t really represent what the people you know are thinking and feeling. And that I’m entirely guilty of (and indeed would be a very fair criticism of this piece and me as a person, if anyone would care to toss it my way.) The leaders of the Republican Party have absolutely nothing to do with me or my “conservatism” using the term very loosely, but what have I actively done to stop them?

        That’s where some detente may prove useful. Because I don’t like Republicans, don’t consider myself a Republican, have never voted for a Republican for president, yet I’m sitting here on the Republican train for lack of a better option and it’s going 100 miles an hour in a direction I don’t particularly like. I’m just one person sitting in the passenger car who has no ability to change its direction. I’m afraid to struggle for control of the throttle, and it is solely because I’m scared of things that some of the people in the liberal movement are saying. I don’t want to undermine the dude driving the train right now because I’m scared of what the liberal movement intends towards me.

        And if that wasn’t the case, if the rhetoric from the other guys was a little less terrifying, a little less intense, then I’d feel much more free to mount a mutiny. But right now, I feel like I gotta just shut up and ride.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kristin Devine
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          says:

          Yes, you’re right and I really do find that the “conservatives” online are not at all representative of the ones I know IRL – who are totally good people who are just trying to navigate the world and live their lives, and have little interest and motivation in expressing their opinions online.

          The vocal conservatives I’m familiar with online are, to be kinda blunt, mostly terrible with honorable exceptions.

          The vocal conservatives I meet casually around here are, to be even more blunt, a bunch of noxious, bigoted fucking assholes.

          Now I specify “vocal” for a reason, and that reason almost surely is that being really vocal with strangers and casual IRL acquaintances about politics is already a bit of a norm violation so it’s probably correlated with being an asshole. I strongly suspect many of my neighbors are Republicans and voted for Trump, but unlike the vocal Trumpistas I’ve encountered, none of them has (to take one memorable example) said he liked Trump to stick it to the Jews, asked if I’m Jewish, and then when I said yes, just continued talking about how much he didn’t like Jews.

          But these people exist offline too, and they’re pretty thick on the ground around here even in Blue America.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to gabriel conroy
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      says:

      Thanks and I found your comment very insightful.Report

  16. Avatar KenB
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    says:

    I enjoyed the essay quite a bit, as of course I would — it’s music to my ears

    But (and this is not meant as a criticism, just sharing my thoughts) I’ve come to believe that this sort of article doesn’t really accomplish anything, other than signalling where you stand and rallying those with a similar outlook. The idea of civility or tolerance for ideological opponents* makes sense only for people who have at least some level of humility about their own beliefs — if you’re absolutely convinced you’re right about important matters then it’s difficult to argue for tolerating other people’s wrongness. At most, that could only be a pragmatic argument, but there’s not a lot of unambiguous evidentiary support to rely on. IMO the real enemy is ideological certainty fed by cognitive bias — but it’s not at all clear how to fight that. The people who make some progress getting past it seem to do so based on certain qualities of mind and personality and certain kinds of experience, not based on explanations or exhortations.

    *I mean, for these opponents qua opponents — I’m sure even the most ideological people here are perfectly able to interact with folks in real life who don’t share their political beliefs, in contexts where those beliefs aren’t germane.Report

    • Avatar KenB in reply to KenB
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      says:

      … well, no, that’s not quite right, you could be 100% confident in your own beliefs but still have compassion/empathy for those who disagree, if you’re the kind of person who can do that. Still, it requires some ability to be able to see beyond your own ideological nose, and not something that just reading an essay would likely bring about.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to KenB
      Ignored
      says:

      Yep, you’re right, an exercise in mental masturbation when I should have been doing other things. Like I mentioned to filly above, it feels like I’m watching this disaster unfold from afar and keep wrongfully thinking “I can make this better somehow” which is a position probably rooted more in one’s own arrogance than in reality.

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.Report

  17. Avatar DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    But think it needs to be said in the way that I said it for the very reason you point out – because I don’t feel that many people on the left have any understanding of why many conservatives think the way they do.

    See, here’s the thing: Until 2016, I actually tried.

    In my opinion as a liberal, before 2016, politicians with rich benefactors had lumped together a whole bunch of positions that mostly benefited rich people, and called it ‘conservativism’ and I thought ‘Well, okay, some people actually want this. Not sure I understand, but I’ll try to read up on this and understand why they think this framework makes sense. Although, weirdly, basically all their positions poll really badly, so…people are conservative but don’t seem to agree with conservative positions.’.

    I really did try. You can go back on this site and find posts where I try to make sense of conservativism, or try to poke holes in internally inconsistent things that conservatism did. I can’t claim I fully understood it, because I still say parts of it were very silly justifications of things that people clearly just wanted to do…but none of that is important.

    Because we then get Trump…and it turns out that none of that ‘philosophy’ was actually why anyone was voting Republican. It seems _almost_ everyone who was ‘conservative’ appears to have been voting for, 1) basically reducing handouts to a certain sort of poor people, 2) keeping certain types of people out of the country, and 3) appointing Supreme Court justices who will legalize abortion laws. There wasn’t any sort of over-arching political philsophy at all. It was pure animus against different groups of people.

    And I really truly believe that most conservatives are much more live and let live than they’re made out to be.

    Most actual conservatives probably are. And the entire 5% of the population that are actual conservatives can feel secure in that.

    I rather sympathize with actual conservatives (Which is mostly the only sort I interact with online) who look around and discover that fundmental philosophical base of their political identity was a lie. People like you, or like other conservatives here, had constructed a nice house, a systematic well-thought-out set of beliefs, off what you all thought were widely-held political beliefs of a significant minority of the population. And then Trump comes along and a large chunk of your neighbors shove the front of their houses over revealing it was entirely a facade and it turns out they just sorta want to be mean to foreigners or people with darker skin or women.

    I’m sure a bunch of oneline conservatives are serious believers who have put in a lot of deep philosophical thought about this. And no matter how wrong-headed I used to think your philosophy was or how poorly it seemed to be at producing the outcomes it said it desired. I used to actually care about it enough to debate it, I had an entire point I was going to make, right now, about how your fight against gay marriage actually harmed marriage. Seriously, it was all typed up and everything. I cut it. Why?

    Because…sorry to be a little blunt, but you, and other actual conservatives, really don’t matter very much. The pseudo-conservatives have taken over the government and it turns out you serious conservative people barely existed, although you do seem to have a lot of political pundits for some reason.

    So…pleading for liberals to understand actual conservatives is sorta silly. You are not, in the technical sense, our opposing side. You…aren’t any side. You simply don’t have enough people for us to care about.

    Liberals’ opposing side isn’t conservatives, it’s _Trumpists_.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      I really did try. You can go back on this site and find posts where I try to make sense of conservativism, or try to poke holes in internally inconsistent things that conservatism did. I can’t claim I fully understood it, because I still say parts of it were very silly justifications of things that people clearly just wanted to do…but none of that is important.

      Oh I think it does. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the economist Arnold Kling, but he has imo created a major conceptual advance he calls the three-axis model of political discourse. Ie, libertarians, liberals, and conservatives can’t really talk to each other because we evaluate events on a continuum that represents a different value systems.

      In any event, the axis he gives to conservatives, civilization-good/barbarism-bad, is partially true but incomplete. Unlike the other two groups, our intuition of anthropology is more complicated, so that axis isn’t nearly as comprehensive for us as it the respective counterparts are for you and the libertarians.

      To some extent I sympathize with you to the extent that we’re not really a side, there’s not enough of us to matter. For some values of conservatism, that’s true. But frankly, that doesn’t help the libs very much. Conservative or otherwise, they (and you, presumably) need to pay attention and internalize the ascendant Right-of-center political demographic because we’re are sovereign. You also need to pay attention to the conservatism you disdain because we’re right.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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        says:

        In any event, the axis he gives to conservatives, civilization-good/barbarism-bad, is

        wholly inaccurate. Trump is a barbarian, and conservatives are happy to drag the country down to his level. Kidnapping children is not a sign of civilization, nor is racism, nor is excusing sexual assault.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          For Chrisssakes, Mike.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
            Ignored
            says:

            You cannot elevate the very worst human being ever to be president, brag about how you value civilization, and expect any other reaction.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              For Chrissakes, Mike.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Is that the same as “I went to Yale!”?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                No, it means that it has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

                Civilization-good/barbarism-bad is a scale for interpretation and evaluation, it’s not bragging.

                Trump really wasn’t a part of that train of thought. To the extent that he fits in, conservatives support Trump because they think that he’s going to defend civilization, eg, the cops and ICE, against the forces of disorder that would threaten it, eg, BLM and Central American migrations.

                But my point to DavidTC was that for conservatives this is shifting ground anyway. Unlike libs or libertarians, we don’t have just one axis for this sort of thing. We have several, and they affect different issues in different ways, eg strong defense vs increasing public debt load, etc, etc. We have to choose between them, and we’re not always coherent.

                But that doesn’t mean the whole thing is just gibberish. There’s various people and groups who get thrown into the Right, at least in the minds of some people, and they are going to have different priorities. And most importantly, each time is different, and so people are naturally going to focus on a problem that’s imminent over one that is at least a little bit distant.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                We have to choose between them, and we’re not always coherent.

                We mostly agree there. But it always comes down to the pursuit of power by any means necessary.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                the forces of disorder that would threaten it, eg, BLM and Central American migrations.

                Hmm, what do those have in common?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                “We’re not here to create disorder, we’re here to preserve disorder!”Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Koz,

                Unlike libs or libertarians, we don’t have just one axis for this sort of thing. We have several, and they affect different issues in different ways, eg strong defense vs increasing public debt load, etc, etc. We have to choose between them, and we’re not always coherent.

                You’re never coherent, and you have only one axis despite pretending to act like you do. Again, seeing as I’m the audience reading this, I have to wonder if you’re trying to deliberate lie to me again. You know how much I love liars.

                Trump is a pathetic excuse for a human being. He was long before he entered the political realm. The recent NY Times article isn’t news to anyone that lived through Trump’s catastrophic failures and the way he skated out of them. He fits into your scheme because he pretends to give a shit what you think knowing it will ultimately benefit him.

                You want to defend that scumbag, fine. None of us are perfect. We all have our deficiencies. For example, I live with imperfection of being old, short and jacked.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Dave
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                says:

                Trump is a pathetic excuse for a human being. He was long before he entered the political realm. The recent NY Times article isn’t news to anyone that lived through Trump’s catastrophic failures and the way he skated out of them. He fits into your scheme because he pretends to give a shit what you think knowing it will ultimately benefit him.

                Trump is the President, and in fact he is your President if you are an American. A lot of people, including you apparently, are unhappy at that state of affairs. In some ways I feel sympathy for people in your situation, but for the most part I don’t. It’s not the sort of thing that you have direct control over, and the expectation that you do or should is a substantial problem.

                I don’t know how any of this is going to get resolved necessarily. It could be that the Democrats or dissident Republicans will outvote Trump in 2020 or sooner. Other than that I don’t see a lot going for you, so get used to it.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      All this is true, and yet it’s a battle of the sheepdogs for the control of the sheep. 5% is more than enough to get a hand on the tiller and steer on some issues.

      That 5% could be far more influential than they are if they didn’t feel that they had to circle the wagons. If they didn’t feel completely and totally under assault. Because when it comes down to it, if you have to pick between someone you hate but doesn’t seem to mean you any harm, and someone you merely disagree with who does seem to mean you harm, it’s a no brainer what you’re going to do. People act for self-preservation and sometimes preserving yourself may mean jumping in bed with someone gross when you’d really rather stay home alone and read your biography of Clare Booth Luce. All you can do is hope it’s a one night stand.

      I just don’t think it’s fair to taunt the legit conservatives with “you’ve betrayed all your principles” while at the same time ratcheting up the rhetoric to stratospheric levels – even turning away from some things that have always been at the core of liberal beliefs while doing so. And of course it’s not everyone on the left, but it’s enough people and it’s enough people who are pretty well-known, influential people to really be terrifying. It’s the media. It’s Hollywood. It’s college professors. Do you know how scary that is? It’s really, really scary.

      People who are terrified are not going to try to start leading the sheep. They’re going to stand back and let the leaders lead, even imperfectly (so, so very imperfectly) instead of wrestling over the steering wheel. Because that principled minority getting too feisty and trying to take over the entire flock is going to cause divisions that lead to less votes and less votes means the other guy or gal, the one that seems to mean you harm, is going to win.

      I’m mixing my metaphors badly here but that’s what happened with the Bernie people. If they would have stayed the course and showed up to vote, I have little doubt that Hillary would have won the election. They wouldn’t have liked doing it, they would have absolutely hated some of the things that Hillary did, but from anyone on the left’s perspective they would have done the right thing if it prevented President Trump. (and BTW with her winning, that 5% of principled leftists would have had far more political power than they have right now, because they could steer a little)

      Principles are great but they’re kind of a luxury that you indulge in when you aren’t worried about your very existence. Sometimes you have to win, principles be damned, if you perceive that the alternative is worse, and then after winning maybe you can steer a little bit. Unfortunately it appears that a lot of people on the right like winning better than principles but maybe that is because they’re still so scared that they are seeing an existential threat and principles still feel like too great a luxury to indulge in.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kristin Devine
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        says:

        That 5% could be far more influential than they are if they didn’t feel that they had to circle the wagons. If they didn’t feel completely and totally under assault.

        So we’re back to “I’m only racist because liberals make me racist logic again.

        Or “only liberals have agency”. Or however you want to phrase it.

        (And FWIW, Sanders voters voted for Clinton in normal numbers — basically they had about as many defections as Obama did in 2008. And I say this as someone who was not a big Sanders fan. Things which had more effect on the election than Sanders voters staying home: Comey’s letter, Russian trolls, the Green Party, and probably the weather).Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to Kristin Devine
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        says:

        @atomickristen – Again, you’ve never actually told any of us liberals these crazy laws we’re going to pass, what insane regulations we’re going to propagate, or what about the culture we’re going to change by say…2030, if the Democrats win.

        Speaking as somebody whose a crazy liberal who actually wants to drastically overhaul society, I’ll let you know what to actually worry about and what not to beReport

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jesse
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          says:

          Its especially pertinent, since much of what passes for “reasonable” and even “conservative” thought in 2018 was wildly hysterical fear-mongering only a few decades ago.
          (Actual arguments I personally remember hearing):

          If liberals win, your kid’s teacher might come to school wearing a dress!!11!
          You won’t be able to smoke, even in your own car!!
          Marijuana will be sold openly on the streets!
          You will show up one day at work, and your boss will be a black man!!

          What all these fears had in common, was not that the conservative himself might lose something, but simply be forced to treat other people as equals.

          Even today, Jordan Peterson’s main nightmare that fuels all of his 3 hour primal scream videos is that he will be forced to say “she” instead of “he”. Erick Erickson even wrote an entire essay called “You Will Be Forced To Care”, which, from a Christian perspective, is a bit amusing.Report

        • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          And they never will tell us.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Kristin Devine
        Ignored
        says:

        I just don’t think it’s fair to taunt the legit conservatives with “you’ve betrayed all your principles” while at the same time ratcheting up the rhetoric to stratospheric levels – even turning away from some things that have always been at the core of liberal beliefs while doing so.

        Not buying it. The Affordable care Act was first written n 1996 by the Heritage Foundation as the conservative rebuttal to Hillary Clinton’s call for universal healthcare as First Lady. How did conservatives react a little more then a decade later when a centerist Democrat President got it passed (after 13 months of hearings and debate and with over 100 Republican authored amendments considered)? They have spent every year since trying to dismantle THEIR OWN IDEA. To deny Democrats a “win.” Their idea won. But a “liberal” black man got it through the Senate, so they are still trying to defeat it.

        Not convinced? all the environmental regulations Republicans currently hate – the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act – were signed into law by a Republican. Not because he loved whales, but because he recognized that there was an economic and political cost to allowing business to destroy the environment willy nilly. And that economic cost has been borne out in studies on the impacts of increased healthcare from pollution, to say nothing of the increasing costs of climate change.

        Want another example? Conservatives go on and on about how we need an unfettered free market, and government shouldn’t pick winners and loosers. There are twice as many Americans employed in the solar power industry as employed in coal mining and energy generation from petroleum and natural gas. Yet the current Administration wants to dismantle the solar industry and ratchet up burning coal and oil again – even though the market has “spoken” and is moving away from those sources of energy, and even though the solar industry employees have a bigger economic impact.

        So yeah, conservatives are behaving entirely consistently with their principals. and Liberals – who you might be reminded are accused regularly of being mentally ill non-Americans – are entirely to blame because we see this and call conservatives out for what they have become.Report

        • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          My personal favorite is voting rights. Whether its “federalism” defenses or “compromise” defenses, no one ever seems to tell me how many citizens I should be willing to see denied reasonable access to polls to make conservatives amorphously happy in some way that will somehow be good for the “tone of debate” or general “civility” in the country.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Nevermoor
            Ignored
            says:

            Can you describe a workable position on the issue that protects voter integrity in both directions?Report

            • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              How about universal automatic registration with a nice, free, high-tech voter ID, early voting, and Oregon-style vote-by-mail?
              But this assumes, as I do not assume, that there is someone on the other side of the table, looking for a compromise solution.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Automatic registration triggered by what? Duplicate registrations purged and changes of address processed how? Vote by mail secured how?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Registration could be triggered by any number of things, like Social Security applications or a tax return or a driver’s license application, plus arithmetic if you’re not of voting age,since both the federal and state governments know when we were born and often where we live. I leave purging duplicate registration and address changes to the techies in IT. (Do I know for a fact that, although I have lived in NYC since late 1979, I’m not still on the voter rolls in Syracuse, where I originally registered? No, but how big a problem is that if I’m still listed there?) Mail voter security? Well, maybe we could experiment in some state or other and see what happens. What? They do it in Oregon? Maybe we can see how it works there.Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                As an Oregonian, I can say that our vote by mail system will probably not fly with most of the prevent voter fraud crowd. Because it goes through the mail and individual households, there is clear potential for interference with the process. There are good measures to protect the secrecy of the ballot and that an individual only votes once. However, mail can be stolen, or individuals in the house could interfere with ballot or true voter intent. Most folks I talk to here find the advantages more than worth it though. But the places that seek absolutely zero fraud/interference as the top priority would probably not.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                The thing about vote by mail security is that the parts that are insecure are so dispersed that it would be seriously difficult to intercept enough ballots to make a difference except in very small and close elections (like, the directed efforts of a large number of people kind of difficult).

                And the parts where a large number of ballots could be intercepted at a time, are either better secured, or the theft of the ballots themselves would become obvious and the election results in immediate question.Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree that that the additional risks are low impact. But if you are in the crowd that finds even a single fraudulent or spoiled ballot unacceptable, vote by mail is moving in the wrong direction. Because of vote by mail, I could easily vote multiple times due to apathy of members of my household. The stories of how anyone can subvert small parts of the vote by mail system are very easy to imagine.

                Personally, I love the vote by mail system and encouraged the secretary of state to improve it. (Include stickers) I would hate to go back to standing in line to go into a little booth with a touchscreen.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I don’t get upset over the potential for marginal fraud. Again, it only really matters in very small and extremely tight races. Wholesale fraud, on the other hand, concerns me. But wholesale fraud is also much easier to defend against outside parties.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Wholesale fraud, on the other hand, concerns me. But wholesale fraud is also much easier to defend against outside parties.

                Well, except when it comes to electronic voting machines. Which comes back around to being easy for individuals again.

                Paper is a lot harder to hack than machines. It’s a lot more work (and a lot easier to get caught) stuffing thousands of forged ballots than rigging a machine to swap every third vote for the “wrong” candidate to the “right” one when it goes to update the count.

                Even in the famous “Dead voting” Chicago stuff, they only registered the dead so that the rigged machines wouldn’t result in suspiciously high turnout.

                If you’re worried about voting fraud, paying attention to voter impersonation or people voting multiple times these days is like worrying over a splinter in your finger when bone is sticking out the compound fracture in your leg. I mean maybe you’re in deep denial or just deeply confused, but the more likely answer is you’ve got some motive other than triaging the problem and fixing the worst of it first.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I consider hacking a DVM to be an inside job, or require inside help. Once the machines are rolled out for the public to use, hacking enough of them as an outside agent to make a difference requires a lot more time and people (and more people means more opportunity to get caught).Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Once the machines are rolled out for the public to use, hacking enough of them as an outside agent to make a difference requires a lot more time and people (and more people means more opportunity to get caught).

                How is this true? If the machines are insecure and susceptible to a worm on the recording flash drives, which will then spread between machines on other cards, all you actually need is one voter in each precinct to infect the entire thing. (And if you miss one or two precinct, no big deal.)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                This assumes the USB port is easily accessible to a voter.

                Please tell me the USB port is not easily accessible to a voter. Please tell me you need a key, or a special tool, to open a case or panel, to access the USB port.

                Please tell me people are not that fecking stupid.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                This assumes the USB port is easily accessible to a voter.

                I’m not talking about USB drives. I’m talking about the memory cards that hold the election definitions. Diebold machines, almost unbelievably, run any code that has the right filename on those cards.

                There are _supposed_ to be seals on the ports in the form of secure tape. In practice, up to 15% of machines have a problem with seals, and…everyone just shrugs.

                And any infected card can infect any machine, and any infected machine can infect any card.

                And, fun fact, those cards get shuffled around between machines between elections, sometimes during elections, and no one seems to care.

                So all anyone needs to do is infect a single card with some sort of debugging program. Sure, that election they can’t do much except tamper in that single machine, but by the _next_ election, all the cards have come out, and then gone back into the machines for the text election, then back out again, then back in for the actual one.

                Or just send like, three voters if there are three machines.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Security, how does that work again?

                SMHReport

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Oscar Gordon: Please tell me people are not that fecking stupid.

                Many now have mitigations against unauthorized USB access. Some are really fecking stupid. Like the one below. They are kind enough to put a bright yellow circle and an arrow for access to a USB port. For bonus fecking stupid they added bluetooth.

                https://www.essvote.com/products/5/41/electronic-pollbooks/expresspoll-tablet/Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I consider hacking a DVM to be an inside job, or require inside help.

                You would be wrong.

                However bad you think it is, it’s worse. And often there is no recoverability. Black box, election day patches. Tabulations run on Microsoft Access. Admin rights hidden behind default passwords, USB ports not sealed, networks not isolated or secured.

                It’s not a question of whether our elections have been hacked, it’s really a question of “how bad” and “how often” and “would we even notice”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m so glad the smartest people in the room are in charge.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                You know software. You know hardly anyone designs with security in mind, and most especially if they’re not paid for it.

                Diebold was the one that famously used a freaking Access DB to tabulate votes, with entirely unsecured cases and election-day patches, even as voting was going on. Same company that made ATMs made voting machines so porous that a bored 15 year old could hack them.

                Why? Because they weren’t paid for security, and because lack of security wasn’t going to cost them. ATMs cost people real money if they can be hacked.

                A hacked election machine, or their tabulation DB? Who’d even know?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                TTBOMK, no place that has ever implemented vote-by-mail or permanent no-excuse absentee ballot lists has ever gone back. Those are both simply too popular with voters. After a couple of years, the question “Should Colorado retain its vote-by-mail system?” polled around 80% yes across all of Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated. Probably higher now. There isn’t anything else that gets that level of approval.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                the prevent voter fraud crowd

                Because there is no such crowd. Because voter fraud doesn’t happen.

                Instead it’s a thinly veiled excuse for discriminatory voter suppression practices.Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                There are plenty of true believers. I’ve talked to more than a few.

                I will agree that there is little evidence of voter fraud. However, it does exist and is an actual real thing. The scope and impact is matter of legitimate debate.Report

            • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              Can you describe any evidence whatsoever that voter fraud ever happens? If not, here goes:

              Make absentee voting available to anyone who wants it (as CA does).
              Permit same day registration everywhere (as 10% of the country does).
              Permit in-person voting in advance of election day, and make it available equally in all areas of the state. The more early voting days the better.
              Make election day a national holiday.
              Stop all automated processes to remove voter registrations based upon imprecise matching, failure to respond to mailings, and other mechanisms unrelated to whether the individual actually has the right to vote.
              Permit identification by sworn oath for people without government-issued ID, and have the necessary form available at the polling station.
              Amend the constitution to provide an affirmative right to vote for all citizens of at least a certain age.

              Then, it will be far easier for everyone to vote (and far harder for GOP voter suppression campaigns to succeed), plus there would be legal recourse when the GOP inevitably tries to work around and pare back these changes.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              Can you describe a workable position on the issue that protects voter integrity in both directions?

              Here’s one: Mandatory-issue government ID.

              The US government must provide, upon demand, to every single individual human being (distinguished by thumbprint) in the US (Citizen, non-citizen, person here illegally.), an identification card. The government is not allowed to pretend the person doesn’t exist, or hasn’t presented enough identification…everyone literally has to be _someone_.

              This ID will be provided for free (Replacements require a nominal charge of let’s say $3.), and it will be provided at post offices. Everyone gets them, and they have a mark on them to indicate if that person is an American citizen. (And hopefully they get tied into DMVs so that police officers can just scan that card and look it up in a database if the person has been licensed to drive, but that’s not relevant here.)

              If that person claims to be an American citizen, it is up to the government to prove they are not, in front of a judge, and the claimed citizen can produce witnesses, and prior voting records, and whatever documentation they think advances their case, and it will be decided by preponderance of evidence…not based on whether or not the person can locate some random documents from decades in the past that might never have been issued anyway.

              After certain amount of time, let’s say five years, this ID card is required for _all_ voting, and _only_ that ID card is allowed. Because it has a single identifying number, and people only have one, we can make sure all states check it internally and against a federal database, to stop people from voting in multiple places.

              Additionally, this utterly stops ‘having to purge the voter rolls’. People get automatically removed if they register elsewhere, and corenors should be required to notify the US government when signing death certificates, which would render their ID ineligible to vote.

              Residency requirement are basically pointless at this point…if people can’t vote multiple times, there’s little point in people faking those, but I’d be okay with sending people some mail at their address and making them return it.

              There you go, I just proposed a solution to solve for the supposed Republican problem of (imaginary) voter fraud, _forever_ and I’m not even asking for anything in return.

              ..at least, I’m not asking for Republicans to stop anything that they can _admit_ they want to do. They actually _won’t_ be happy with this because it stops a good deal of their voter supression.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          There are twice as many Americans employed in the solar power industry as employed in coal mining and energy generation from petroleum and natural gas. Yet the current Administration wants to dismantle the solar industry and ratchet up burning coal and oil again – even though the market has “spoken” and is moving away from those sources of energy, and even though the solar industry employees have a bigger economic impact.

          I don’t quite understand how the market has spoken given that solar power is a pimple on a whale’s ass relative to other forms of energy production. You’ll need to show your work on the employee numbers because I somehow doubt that the solar power industry employs more people and if it does ,that may not be a good thing.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave
            Ignored
            says:

            Depends on who you count as ’employed in the solar power industry’.

            If you are just talking about people who work full time at or for industrial solar generation plants, I doubt you’d find enough people to fill the seats at a poorly marketed Styx concert. But if you roll in every installer and associated contractor* of residential or light industrial (the stuff that gets installed on top of Wal-Marts and over parking lots), you might get closer.

            *e.g. the electrician who doesn’t actually work for the installer full time, but is a contractor.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Kristin Devine
        Ignored
        says:

        People who are terrified are not going to try to start leading the sheep. They’re going to stand back and let the leaders lead, even imperfectly (so, so very imperfectly) instead of wrestling over the steering wheel.

        So you seem to think you guys are going to get back in charge. Or think you still are ‘in charge’, that this is just some tiny blip. But you have been slowly handing away your party since the _90s_. (By ‘you’ I mean actual conservatives, I don’t know how old you personally are.) You handed it piecemeal to Fox News, to liars on the radio, and to a literal cabal of people who hated Bill and Hillary Clinton, and were willing to use every trick in the book to destroy them. Over the years, the name of who you were handing bits of it over to changed, and receded a bit when it wasn’t needed shortly after 9/11, but the stragety didn’t change, and came back in full force under Obama.

        These people, the Noise Machine, got the votes out, got the Republican base good and angry at the Democrats, and…you guys always knew the sane Republicans obviously wouldn’t have to _do_ any of that stuff. The Noise Machine could scream about how Vince Foster was murdered by Bill Clinton or how Democrats wanted to kill babies, but that just meant perfectly normal Republicans would get elected and could do perfectly normal conservativish things.

        Piece by piece, you have slowly allowed the Noise Machine to control more and more of your voter’s narrative for the past two decades.

        Except you had no exit strategy. And now the vast majority of Republican voters aren’t actually ‘Republicans’ or ‘conservatives’ philosophically, they’re grievance-based ‘anti-librul’ voters that can be targeted at wherever the Noise Machine aim them and are completely disconnected from the party leadership. Heck, by 2016, Fox News had lost control of them, and half of those voters appeared to be directed by memes on Facebook.

        And Trump realized he could just cut out the Noise Machine and start spewing that stuff _himself_. And it’s hard to see how that won’t become the norm in the future. I guess that _technically_ is an exit stragety, in that the Republican voters will, indeed, start listening to ‘the Republican leadership’ again, but only because the leadership has been replaced by conspiracy-spewing Brietbart writers.

        You are not getting your party back. You guys handed it for one short-term voting advantage after another short-term voting advantage, any of which presumably made sense at the time, but you literally nickled and dimed away your control of your own party to the Noise Machine for them to ‘rile up the base’. The Noise Machine isn’t giving the party back. It’s _winning primaries_.

        Because that principled minority getting too feisty and trying to take over the entire flock is going to cause divisions that lead to less votes and less votes means the other guy or gal, the one that seems to mean you harm, is going to win.

        It sure is weird that what the left ‘should do’ appears to be exactly the thing that lets ‘principled conservatives’ stand there impotently while they get most of the stuff they want politically. Huh. Odd.

        Stuff which, I feel I should remind you (Since we’re trying to understand each other), you have apparently forgotten we _also_ consider harmful. Like cutting the safety net, or attacking other countries, or banning abortion, or tax cuts for the rich. We consider that stuff harmful, and have always done so. In fact, what you guys wanted, and what Trump wants, often seems to be basically the same stuff, it’s just the Trumpists are doing it _explicitly_ to injure people, or they’re willing to say that, while you guys…always said you weren’t doing it for that reason. (In the spirit of ‘understanding each other’, I warn you: We’re finding your prior stated motives more and more dubious.)

        Granted, this overt malice is causing Trump to do those same things in slightly more outrageous and harmful ways, true, but OTOH that sort of stupid overreach keeps blowing up in their face, _and_ turns people off those policies in the future. So..honestly, it’s working out mostly better for us.

        Unfortunately it appears that a lot of people on the right like winning better than principles but maybe that is because they’re still so scared that they are seeing an existential threat and principles still feel like too great a luxury to indulge in.

        So, you know how you rewrote ‘conservatives being proven wrong by history over and over and eventually being forced to change positions’ into ‘conservatives voluntarily compromising’, but at least you recognize how it kept happening?

        Well, about 1995 or so, when control of the ‘conservative party’ got handed over to the Noise Machine, a big problem was that you guys stopped being able to ‘compromise’. Aka, admit you had lost. You got stuck. Instead of moving forward, you had the Noise Machine firmly plant a flag slightly in the past of where conservative currently were.

        Before that point, Democrats were vaguely a decade before the actual American mainstream, and Republicans were vaguely a decade behind, and that mostly worked. But from that point forward, you were firmly affixed in the mid-80s or so, don’t take the date too literally. The important thing isn’t what the Noise Machine decided was ‘proper’ conservativism, the important thing is that conservativism was _never_ allowed to change from that point forward. Any Republican who had been dragged forward was obviously a fake conservative.

        From that point on, the party couldn’t change its mind on homosexuality, they couldn’t change it on abortion which was _already_ a stale issue, they couldn’t change it on any of their screwy economic positions despite America already being so disillusioned of them they’d elected Clinton.

        In a party where the voters still listened to party leadership, the leadership would have done something about this over the years, to slowly indicate that it was time to move forward, give a little ground to stay in sync with America…and they tried, under Bush. Tried to do something about immigration, tried to introduce civil unions for gay people, etc. And the Noise Machine tore them apart.

        The existential threat you guys had placed yourself under was _entirely_ your own doing. (Before Trump, I mean. That’s also an existential threat of your own doing, just a different one.) Your party is, at this point, basically thirty-five years out of date, aka, appealing to the political positions that were last true when 55-year olds hit their politically formative age!

        But to address this generally: You are basically saying ‘If Democrats lay off the Republicans, different Republicans might decide to step forward and somehow redirect their party into slightly different harmful things.’ Not only does this completely avoid any reflection on how those Republicans lost control of their own party to start with, and thus can’t explain how they would recover any control… but it’s a pretty crappy deal even if it would work!

        It makes much more sense for Democrats to stand there and watch the backlash against what the Republicans keep trying to do, especially since the current administration is so hyper-incompetent than they tend to fail in very stupid ways and their maliciously is blatantly overt. (Again, just FYI: We’re finding Republicans prior claims of non-maliciousness getting harder and harder to believe.)Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Kristin Devine
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s the media. It’s Hollywood. It’s college professors. Do you know how scary that is? It’s really, really scary.

        No, seriously, I don’t know how scary that is. An otherwise not very memorable book by Joe Queenan, entitled Imperial Caddy, about, of all things, Dan Quayle made the point in memorable language that I wish I had at hand, but the point was — even back then — that the right got the military, fossil fuel industries, Big Pharma, agribusiness, insurance, Big Tobacco, cops, Wall Street, the judicial system, most of the media except certain prestige outlets, the NFL, etc., and the left got — the English Department. Just how scary is it for you? And why?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
          Ignored
          says:

          You know why LBJ pushed for churches to lose their tax-exempt status if they talked about politics from the pulpit?

          It’s similar to what he was afraid of, I’d think.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t know what was in LBJ’s mind, but I do know the publicly-offered explanations for the Johnson Amendment, all technical and uncontroversial at the time.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
              Ignored
              says:

              Really? Because I am pretty sure what was in LBJ’s mind.

              As such, I see that sort of thing as a good answer to your “Just how scary is it for you? And why?” questions.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                LBJ proposed a perfectly sensible technical correction, well explained in the source you cite, for something that was utterly uncontroversial at the time, as is also explained in the source you cite. I’m pretty sure I’m older than you — I actually remember Lyndon Johnson — and I’ve read a fair bit about him. I have no basis whatever to think that this was anything other than what it seemed to be. If you’re “pretty sure what was in LBJ’s mind,” I’d be interested in what you think you know and how you think you know it. Maybe then I will be able to understand why you think it is responsive to my point.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                It was exceptionally defensible as a “perfectly sensible technical correction” in a country that was 90% white and that had African-American churches as the organizational centers of civil rights activity.

                Why, I’m sure that most of the country didn’t even come close to having a problem with the legislation. It Just Made Sense.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                OK, now we know what you think you know. How about how you think you know it? And how it relates to my point?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, it relates to the question “What are you people so afraid of?”

                What was LBJ so afraid of? He had so very many things on his side. Why did it matter if some small churches allowed their ministers to talk about politics from the pulpit?

                You asked why the English Department was so scary?

                I submit: The English Department is the new pulpit.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You say yet again that LBJ was “afraid” of something. Repetition doesn’t make it so. I asked for some basis for the assertion that a perfectly sensible technical tax change was actually a well-hidden attempt to stop black pastors from talking politics. I’m still waiting. It must be very well-hidden. I don’t recall Martin Luther King, Jr., or anyone else who would have been affected and would have suspected such a plot if it existed, calling LBJ out on this.
                And just what is the threat of the English Department?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Well-hidden? I don’t think it’s well-hidden at all.

                I think it’s actually really freaking obvious and attempts to describe it as a “perfectly sensible technical correction” are as disingenuous as a policeman yelling “STOP RESISTING” at an unconscious man that he keeps hitting with a baton.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I guess that settles it then.Report

  18. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Koz: Capitulation, respectability politics, and tone policing. Thereby earning solidarity and credibility with the rest of America.

    Other then the fact that the number of people who elected Mr. Trump is already a minority of persons in America, yeah sure.

    I don’t think you’ve noticed but 1) the population of White (allegedly) Christian males in the US is shrinking, and with them the need to meet all their political and economic demands at the expense of others, and 2) Most of those alleged Christians aren’t actually following the teachings of Christ – He who called for radical love and acceptance of everyone; He who elevated the status of children (who had no status in Jewish or Roman states); He whose two closest female followers were ex hookers.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      Other then the fact that the number of people who elected Mr. Trump is already a minority of persons in America, yeah sure.

      I don’t think you’ve noticed but 1) the population of White (allegedly) Christian males in the US is shrinking, and with them the need to meet all their political and economic demands at the expense of others, and 2) Most of those alleged Christians aren’t actually following the teachings of Christ – He who called for radical love and acceptance of everyone; He who elevated the status of children (who had no status in Jewish or Roman states); He whose two closest female followers were ex hookers.

      At one point I could definitely see the logic behind this, but I don’t think it’s operative any more. This is like the three little pigs, and you thought our house was made of straw but it turns out that it’s made of bricks. And so far at least, your strategy is to blow harder. My point is, maybe you should be trying a different strategy instead, one that’s not dependent on grabbing political power.Report

  19. Avatar Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    Murali, down here!

    On LGBT issues, here is one: gay marriage is legal but christian bakers don’t have to bake a cake if they don’t want to.

    This is, and always has been, the actual case. Here…

    Gay couple: “We want you to bake us a cake for our wedding”

    Evangelical baker: “I don’t think I can create an artistic case that will do your relationship the sort of justice you would like, for your wedding.”

    Assuming everybody doesn’t part there reasonably satisfied (remember, that cake baking case is largely contingent **not on the baker refusing to make the cake** but them **being a giant ass about it and raising a ruckus on their social media presence about teh gayz**), the alternative scenario in the next step is

    Gay couple: “No, really, we hear you’re the best in town. Are you refusing to serve us?”

    Evangelical baker: “No, but I don’t think you’ll like the end product”

    Gay couple: “We insist”

    Evangelical baker: “Okay”

    Two days later they come to pick up the cake and it’s a disaster. “We don’t want this!” says the gay couple. “Okay, don’t buy it” says the baker.

    On migration:

    Amnesty for people already here and a gradual lowering of migrant quotas as well as tighter border security

    This is a non-starter for the right. Amnesty is not an option, they’ve made that plain. Since that’s a non-starter, the second half is not relevant (I’d have a huge problem with both but it doesn’t matter since I won’t get my amnesty anyway).

    On Title IX:

    Greater protections for the accused but always refer to the police. If someone is accused of sexual assault, then it should be a police case, not an internal matter for the university.

    This has never been a problem with Title IX. If anything, the historical problem with Title IX is that nobody has ever implemented 1/100th of it. The problem with Title IX is that conservatives don’t want to put their actual position on paper and pass it. They could quite easily do so, and yet they don’t. Why?

    Because Title IX is already underutilized even *though* it’s a badly written law (note: this is why the left shouldn’t bother to defend it so hard, since it’s largely garbage in implementation everywhere because, to be frank, the problem with sexual assault isn’t the law surrounding it, it’s the fact that a substantial section of the country doesn’t care). And so there’s only one way to amend it, make it even less useful, and that’s a political nightmare for optics. So why touch it with politics? Just add conservative judges who will carve it apart and call it a day.

    On farm subsidies:

    get rid of agricultural subsidies. This is not so much a compromise thing but a thing that both sides should dislike. The only reason why its still around is because the farm lobby is powerful and the yeoman farmer is still a cultural heroic archetype.

    The reason why this is around is because the Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri have 18 senators (not to mention the Congresscritters) and ag represents the bulk of non-oil related revenue for all those states. In the United States, agriculture represents 1.2% of GDP as a sector. This is laughably small. Without the structural advantage of # of Senators this would vanish. On the lower layer of governance, this would also be the case in states like California, where the geographic boundaries of our state legislature means folks support ag at the state level even though as a percentage of state GDP it’s almost noise. California’s gross domestic product in 2017 was 2.7 trillion. Ag, forestry, hunting, and fishing *combined* is under 31 billion in 2017. Just a smidge over 1%.

    This isn’t party-related mechanics. It’s geographic-linked representation, all the way.


    On abortion:

    Something more like the european model where it is easily available for the first trimester, something almost impossible to get for the third (except in dire exigencies) and somewhat more variable on a state by state basis for the second trimester.

    Nobody on the left believes that the right will accept a partial solution here. And with good reason, they’ve repeatedly said that they won’t take one. Tom used to argue this position all the time, “The Left is out-of-step with all of America” was his constant gripe here on the blog. He never would actually admit that this will go away as a political battle precisely never. Why compromise with someone who will undermine the compromise immediately?

    On confederate statues:

    Keep the statues but put up a visible sign which makes clear that these people fought to maintain slavery.

    I don’t think this solution is acceptable to those on the right that want to keep them, do you?

    On climate change:

    Cap and trade, but also allow nuclear power

    Done! I’m on board. Now we have two of us.

    On nature preservation/oil drilling

    Allow land to be available for purchase by private owners. Environmental groups which wish to prevent oil companies from drilling in a piece of land can buy that land. Oil companies just want profits and there are enough rich people who claim to be environmentally conscious (e.g. just about all the A-list actors in hollywood) who can come together to buy the land and put in a trust if they wanted to.

    Talk to me about abolishing oil subsidies and impounding the trillions of dollars we’ve given them since 1977 and donating it to those environmental groups so that they can compete for the price of the land on an equal playing field, I’m down.

    Eminent Domain:

    This should be a bipartisan issue. I don’t even know why this is still around

    It isn’t. This was a bogeyman back when SCOTUS decided Kelo. More than half of the states already had laws on the books that made Kelo a non-decision and another third of them or so have passed laws to prevent a Kelo situation since. The only current case of broad use of eminent domain is in… oil pipelines. See a couple paragraphs above.


    Police brutality:

    Body cameras with live mics, at least two per officer. It should be a fireable offence if both cameras happen to be off when a cop is on duty. Get rid of qualified immunity.

    I’ll settle for “if you shoot someone who isn’t armed and isn’t trying to actively shoot you at the time you just lose your gun and take a desk job”, but this would be fine with me. This isn’t a compromise position that the right is going to budge *towards*, though.

    Or, sharply curtail the activity/power of all public sector unions.

    I’ve got a problem with this one because the fact that unions are public sector is not something that we take into consideration when we talk about private sector corporations serving the public sector. Citizen’s United and Vegara are completely orthogonal to each other, one disallows infringement of speech by corporations but the other compels association.

    I suspect that public sector unions will continue to be a sticking point on both sides.Report

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